What Michael Bryan said, and more

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Editor and Publisher of Blog for Arizona, Michael Bryan, has responded in a guest opinion in the Arizona Daily Star on Sunday Blogs with pseudonyms add to discourse to an opinion by a Daily Star reporter the previous Sunday which appeared on the front page of the "Tucson & Region" section as "news," rather than on the opinion pages where it belonged.

Michael Bryan and I created the nomenclature "AZ Blue Meanie" as an online character, a persona to write no-holds-barred opinion and commentary from a liberal perspective. That is the assignment I was tasked to do by Mike. It is an intellectual property right, a brand name, a trademark if you will. When I am no longer providing content under that nomenclature, someone else will.

AZ Blue Meanie provides opinion and commentary from a liberal perspective on the news of the day. Almost every post is linked to a news article source. On rare occasions, we will report a "tip" from one of our readers. We do not do traditional "reporting," i.e., interviewing persons and compiling their statements into a news story. Blog for Arizona has never claimed to be a news media outlet. We make it clear that we are bloggers, not reporters. (See end of post).

250px-JimmyOlsen01 There is a reporter at the Arizona Daily Star whom I will not name because that would be "hurtful" and he would be sad all day — Let's just call him Jimmy Olsen, the young photojournalist working for the Daily Planet in the Superman comics. "Jimmy" is close friends with Lois Lane and Clark Kent, whom he idolizes as career role models. (The comparison will become evident in a moment).

"Jimmy" contacted David Safier and I about a hit piece he was doing about Blog for Arizona. "Jimmy" told me that what I write is "vitriolic" and "hurtful" to people. Really? I asked him to give me a specific example. "Jimmy" confessed that he does not read blogs and only recently read a post on Blog for Arizona. The post he cited to me was from several months ago, not recent. "Jimmy" told me that his Daily Star colleagues Daniel Scarpinato and Rhonda Bodfield were "hurt" by my media criticism. No, really. I kid you not.

Since "Jimmy" cited a months old post that was critical of the political writing of Daniel Scarpinato and Rhonda Bodfield, it is a fair assumption that "Jimmy" was provided with a printed copy of the post by one or both of his colleagues.

In fact, I had heard from the Pima County Democratic Party earlier this year that Rhonda Bodfield was upset about a post, but when she introduced herself to me at a DGT meeting, she made no complaint and was very personable.

Daniel Scarpinato, while working as the media flak for Jonathan Paton's campaign, tweeted that he "knows who AZ Blue Meanie is." (Sadly, we get your tweets). Michael Bryan spoke to Jonathan Paton to ask him if he knew what Scarpinato was doing on behalf of his campaign. Mr. Paton said he was not aware of it and would talk to Scarpinato. To his credit, Mr. Paton was a man of his word.

In any event, it is clear the posts are not so "anonymous" as "Jimmy" claims in his opinion.

For the record, not once has anyone at the Daily Star posted a comment to a post, or sent me an e-mail, or telephoned me with any complaint about something I have written about the Arizona Daily Star on Blog for Arizona. The only complaint of which I am aware was from Daniel Scarpinato who called Michael Bryan once upon a time, but I don't recall the specifics.

"Jimmy's" opinion is just that — an opinion, and a self-confessed uninformed opinion at that. There is nothing ethically wrong with posting under a pseudonym. If "Jimmy" read blogs he would know that literally hundreds of people post under a pseudonym, and for perfectly legitimate reasons.

One similarly situated blogger was "DK." He was "a lawyer at a law firm in the midwest. And, simply stated, DK's professional position as a firm lawyer isn't compatible with the free and frank exposition of views and analysis of the issues of the day here at TPM." Here and Here. Since then, "DK" quit his day job and David Kurtz is now one of the top bloggers at Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo.

Clearly this story was shopped to "Jimmy" by one of his colleagues at the Daily Star. I expressly advised "Jimmy" of the conditions of my employment which require that I use a pseudonym to protect the financial interests of my employer and the clients we represent, several of whom are politically conservative. Regular readers are well aware of this condition Who is AzBlueMeanie?, but "Jimmy" never did his research. I got the distinct impression that he did not care.

Despite having actual knowledge and with malice aforethought, "Jimmy" went ahead and published it anyway, no doubt out of retaliation for his "hurt" colleagues at the Daily Planet, er, Daily Star.

Is it appropriate for the paper of record in Tucson to allow its employees to use it pages for a non-newsworthy personal vendetta? Because the "Sally Sensitives" at the Daily Star don't believe that bloggers have any right to criticize traditional media?

"Jimmy" is not a lawyer and apparently not aware of the intentional tort of tortious interference with contract. There is also the tortious interference with the intellectual property right and trademark of Blog for Arizona. I'll bet Jimmy never even checked with the lawyers. And I'll bet he isn't aware that there is an "intentional acts" exclusion in in the Daily Star's liability insurance policy. His ass is bare and he is on his own.

In his opinion, "Jimmy" cited a sidebar piece about the writers for Blog for Arizona that was actually written by Michael Bryan that he falsely attributed to me. This may be due to the fact that "Jimmy" never contacted the Editor and Publisher of Blog for Arizona, Michael Byan. "Jimmy" compounded his error by quoting Michael Bryan's sidebar piece out of context to portray Az Blue Meanie in a "false light," also intentional tortious conduct (defamation). Mike's reference is to the movie Yellow Submarine and the fictional character Blue Meanie.

In his opinion, "Jimmy" took exception to blogger Ted Prezelski's comment that "I don't have an obligation to run around and get both sides." "Call me old school – and hey, I'm writing for a newspaper – but even if you're just posting it online, you actually do."

This from someone who confessed his ignorance of blogs and blogging. And no, bloggers actually do not have to get both sides. A blog is not a newspaper. We write opinion and commentary. "Jimmy's" unenlightened elitist mainstream media sneering at blogs does not change that fact.

One final note about anonymity. Newspapers practice anonymity all the time. The editor who supervised "Jimmy's" opinion was not disclosed in the byline. The editorial opinions you read on the opinion pages are not signed by the editor who actually wrote it (except on rare occasions). The copy editors responsible for the creative headline writing at the Daily Star are never disclosed. The only responsible party for a report that is ever identified is the reporter. And if the Daily Star is using a condensed version wire report from AP or McClatchy, even the reporter's name does not appear. Pretty hypocritcal dontcha think?

One response to “What Michael Bryan said, and more

  1. The weeklyintercept.blogspot.com can go try to hijack someone else’s blog.