Monday, October 6, 2003

Graham blog - authorized or not?

Check out this post to the Graham blog. Note the use of the word “flaky” to describe two of the frontrunner candidates, “very disappointing polls and fundraising,” the discussion about settling for a cabinet post, then note the author’s clarification in the comments:

I am posting my own opinions only. I am not a part of the Graham campaign and I am not a blind cheerleader either.

In another comment, he provides further information:

…many of the bloggers are not specifically members of the campaign staff, but are enthusiastic supporters who the campaign noticed talking positively about the Senator out on the net, and asked if we (I’m one) wanted to offer our positive viewpoints of Bob Graham here on the blog.

Other than in the broadest possible terms, we were not instructed what’s on message or off message, and I think the reason is that the campaign wanted this to be a true blog, with a diversity of opinion, and even some posts that might be contradictory or diverge somewhat from the official compaign message.

Now, I have no problem with the campaign’s use of outside bloggers to add “authenticity” to the message. But I think they’re making a big mistake in not explicitly identifying posts that aren’t from the campaign. Many people who end up at the site have no idea what a weblog is, and will only go by what’s on the screen. And here’s what I see:

Note the use of the words “official weblog”.

At the bottom of the page is this disclaimer:

“Paid for and authorized by Bob Graham for President.” (emphasis mine)

In other words, this page repeatedly reinforces the official nature of the site. And the posts that are made by volunteers aren’t identified as anything other than “official” or “authorized”. So the only conclusion I would reach as a new visitor to the site would be that these were posts made by the campaign.

And in the post linked above, we see Graham calling two competitors “flaky” and admitting that his strategy might really just be to angle for a VP slot or even a cabinet appointment. Not exactly the image you want to portray.


  1. fyi: the link to "this post" really just links to the graham blog logo jpg.



  2. Thanks Frank. I've updated the link.

  3. Gosh guys, I am the poster you are talking about. (I hope it's not my post that convinced Graham to drop out?) I meant that Clark and Dean are flaky only in the sense that my own post was also flaky: it created a lot of trouble and misunderstanding. I only intended to point out a remotely possible way Graham still could have gotten the nomination, and a reason for him not to settle for his comfortable senate seat. It's all moot now.