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Dealing with Anonymous Blogs

Whether your campaign intends to blog or not, you can expect that the blogosphere is going to impact your next campaign.

The Washington Post today has a round-up of the explosion in anonymous, rumor-mongering blogs impacting the 2005 Virginia election cycle.

Such is the new and emerging realm of Internet blogs. Since the 2005 Virginia election cycle kicked off, the number of blogs talking about Virginia politics has swelled to at least 20. Many are run anonymously, allowing people to express their views freely -- and giving them an easy way to spread rumors and half-truths. ...

The blogger said he did not know whether the postings about Shayna Englin, which were e-mailed to the site anonymously, were true. The group did not call her for a response. The goal is to rush information into the public domain. Otherwise, he said, "it would give her a chance to delay or deny that rumor."

"We don't have the same standards as [the mainstream media]," he said. "If someone makes a defamatory statement, that has nothing to do with us. We are not responsible for what other people are saying on our blog. It's kind of like a hotel pool. There's no lifeguard. You are responsible for yourself."

On one hand, political analysts say, anonymous blogs draw people into the political process. But they can be influenced by savvy politicians.

"It's gossip central, and beyond that it's an opportunity for campaign operatives to manipulate yet another piece of the system," said the real Larry Sabato. "The positive side is that more people may be engaged and interested. The downside is that more of what they know may be inaccurate."

Read the rest of Politicians Deal With Newcomer, The Blog

Previously on P&T:
Anonymous Blogs are Bad (mostly)
Blogs & email impacting local politics in Escondido, CA
The importance of blogs early in the election cycle.
Influencing public opinion through blogging