When the Blogs Turn Into CBS

Here in Maryland there is an uproar, and rightly so, about the postings of a long time aid to the Governor. Mr. Joseph Steffen posted at Free Reublic that the Mayor of Baltimore had been involved in an extra marital affair. Apparently, these posts had no basis in fact. The Mayor denies the allegations and there is no evidence that they are true. Given the Lewinsky fiasco, the jury will have to remain out to determine if the allegations are true. For the time being, the Mayor should be taken on his word.

Steffin was involved in posting the stories and also communicating via private email to the site owner. He reportedly stated that the republicans needed to get dirty and make these types of allegations. The press is calling for an apology from the Governor, who denies any knowledge of the postings until they were made public. Evidently, Steffin posted under an assumed name.

The blogosphere is a powerful source of information. We have taken the MSM to task for phony documents and outright lies. We expect the truth in the news that is reported. Though we are not professional journalists we have a responsibility to report accurately. All of us are free to give opinions and we can not be liable for simply reporting what others are saying (especially when we cite respected sources) but we should not engage in these types of campaigns.

Mr. Steffin was fired by the Governor and has apologized to the Mayor (reportedly, in an email). WBAL reported that the owner of the site cautioned Steffin, in those private emails, and told him he needed to tone down the dirty politics rhetoric. Unfortunately, the emails were made public and picked up by a local newspaper.

The fact that a government official in the republican party did this does not help the conservative cause. We do not need comparisons to the Nixon era haunting our efforts. We certainly do not need to resort to this type of dirty campaign to further our cause. Our beliefs are strong and can stand on their own merits. We should leave the dirty antics to CBS.

WBAL has a story with audio.

As a side note. The story of the Mayor’s alleged infidelity has been around for about two years. On WBAL today the conservative host and his liberal guest both acknowledged that they heard the rumors from a democrat with possible ties to another democrat in the state with aspirations of becoming governor. There are speculations that Steffin was set up. In any case, this does not excuse his behavior and his dismissal was appropriate.

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