Sunday, January 02, 2005

Mr. Anderson, you're no Ben Franklin

Who is Mark Anderson? He's a University of Minnesota professor who posted comments to blogs under the pseudonym of "Ben Franklin." Hugh Hewitt outed him and reprinted several of Anderson's comments. On New Year's Day, Mark Anderson started his own blog, Poor Richard's Almanac, which was introduced by Jay Rosen at PressThink. Anderson has a rather long first post explaining his take on being outed.

Anderson has been complaining about a "synergy" between conservative blogs, and concludes that because of such synergy the internet and blogosphere aren't democratic at all. You don't understand exactly what he means? Me neither! Most of what Anderson says sounds like a lot of doublespeak.

But Anderson is wrong, the internet has allowed voices to be heard that would never have been heard when mainstream media controlled public discussion. People are even reading what I have to say. And I assure you I am not on the payroll of any vast right wing conspiracy.

I do with agree with Anderson's assertion that being a public employee doesn't prevent him from expressing his opinions. I am a public employee too! And I have no problem with blogging from work. Everything I do there is a big waste of taxpayer money anyway.

A much bigger problem I have with Mark Anderson is his wrongful usurpation Benjamin Franklin's name. Anderson claims that Ben Franklin is his hero, and he lists his favorite book as Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography.

Anderson should go back and reread the Autobiography. Benjamin Franklin started out poor, but through hard work and entrepreneurship, and without any liberal state sponsored social programs or wealth redistribution, became rich and successful. Anderson only comments about the press from the safe walls of academia, but Benjamin Franklin became rich by actually owning his own printing business and newspaper.

Anderson links to a bunch of liberal blogs as his list of "approved blogs." What would Benjamin Franklin think about that? Benjamin Franklin talked about the "Oppression of Taxation" at a time when taxes were only a tiny percent of what they are today. Benjamin Franklin supported a Constitution that only granted limited powers to the federal government. Since the time of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the federal government has been ceded the power to do anything it wants, with liberals wishing that it did even more.

Today's all powerful federal government is not what Benjamin Franklin envisioned. Benjamin Franklin even suggested that the President and Vice President not be allowed to be paid any government salary as a way of keeping the government less powerful and keeping the money where it belongs, with the People.

Shame on you, Mr. Anderson, for claiming to be Ben Franklin.


Tom Grey said...

[copy of my Jay Rosen comment]
And the truly sad thing is: no one can make them.Well, their "bosses" can make them! Like, editors can tell reporters to read a blog tutorial, keep an internal/intranet blog (* ALL info orgs should have a top guy writing one), and report, daily, on interesting/ important blog info.

And the editors can do this after editors who don't do it, and see declining revenue, get booted by THEIR bosses -- the shareholders.

The question is when will a newspaper do it well enough to be successful/ effective, and have a model that is fairly easy/ standard for copying. I have hopes for Greensboro (but it's too local for me in Slovakia to contribute much).

I think Matt S was trying to be sarcastic, but misses the point that Bush is correctly responding to HIS boss(es) the voters. On fighting evil, supporting family morals, and especially spending, spending, spending Other People's Money (which Dems only wanted more of).

In fact, most folk DO have a boss, who CAN "make them" do something; but it usually is based on fairly drastic action (fire 'em! off with their heads! give 'em the axe!) if they don't.

You, Jay Rosen, should maybe be teaming up with Dan Gillmor (?); possibly Roger L Simon AND Marc Cooper, etc., to provide some practice in "doing it right."

I'm glad I gave up my Tigger and OldTigger forum psueds, now years ago; glad Mark Anderson has been outed. Real people, real thoughts, real flames (or prolly less). Just like I don't like "gay" now meaning male homosexual, I didn't like "Ben Franklin" meaning a big statist opinionater. I see Libertarian Girl (Wowsa! whot a hot babe) (oops sexist, down boy) (but she LIKES Rand) also wasn't happy.

Mark, getting money from the Violence based economy to complain about the Peace based economy, but previously not quite honest about it.

On the other hand, where else can one go to get any money for living and working in the world of ideas? I hope to start teaching next month, too...

Mark Anderson said...

Libertarian Girl,
Ben Franklin helped write the Constitution! How much more pro-government can you get? He helped organize library and fire services in Philadelphia. He was an ambassador to France. The man was on the government payroll for decades!

I don't say the internet doesn't allow new voices to be heard. I say a lot of the new voices repeat the same things the dominant media tell us. They allow people who may as well be Republican party operatives to pretend they are the new grassroots ovethrowing the powers that be. But the Republicans ARE the powers that be.

Blue said...

Mr. Anderson, interesting comment!

First off, the Constitution as originally envisioned and written by Franklin, et al, was, as Libertarian Girl said, "a Constitution that only granted limited powers to the federal government." Conservatives, like myself, are not "anti-government" so much as "pro-citizen."

Also, you impugn the integrity of blogs like Powerline, accusing them of being shills for the Republican party, with no evidence. I suppose that means no one who happens to agree with the Republican platform is allowed to blog, at least not without ad hominem attacks that they are part of the "dominant media." Funny, while you are correct to point out that Republicans have electoral power now, to suggest it controls the dominant media seems a bit odd to me.

Besides, from your own blog, you state the following:

"To my mind, President Bush prevaricates on an almost daily basis. I generally resent this in a president. But these same sorts of half-truths and misstatements are simply considered part of the PR process for a Fortune 500 CEO. Bush is no more and no less to blame then they are. We expect the president of Merck to deceptively claim that it is not safe for the health of Americans to import the drugs Merck itself makes in the US. That is just good business. But some of us more greatly resent hearing the same deception from the White House."

From your own logic, I must assume you got this from a Democratic talking point, rather than your own analysis of the issue. After all, this is the view we get from the real "dominant media."

Mark Anderson said...

Please show me a "dominant media" story that has this point of view. Just one. I've been looking for years now.

Blue said...

I think you were replying to my post, not LG, but here is what I found:

Philadelphia Inquier:
Imported Drugs Study A report that resolves littleUSA Today:
Drug-import debate far from overEven Fox News passes on your point of view:
Doubts Linger Over HHS Report on Drug ImportsYou asked for one, and these are three examples, although they admittedly are not clearcut examples of cheerleading for importation. But news articles on the web generally only go back 30 days, so it's hard to find editorials from the summer when this was a political and campaign issue. And I suppose I have to agree that the media didn't actually call Bush a liar like you did over the issue (but they did repeat Democratic claims along your lines by Pelosi and others). Critics of the study don't actually refute the facts and conclusions in the report, but the motives of the administration. I find that typical of liberals.

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