"Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!"
-Homer J. Simpson

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Round-Up of the David MacLean Trolling Controversy

So first of all, WOW! I am humbled that as many great people and bloggers linked to my post yesterday about David Maclean's trolling as did. I knew that this post was big, but I didn't know how bit it actually was.

A good technical explanation of the whole thing is here

But first of all, some trenchant analysis from James Bow (great blogger)

Of those 5000 comments (5003 as I write this), a quick search in Movable Type’s back end shows that I contributed 560 of them. And all under my own name. What I have not done, unlike certain members of the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation is commented to my own posts under a pseudonym in order to make it appear that there was a vigorous community discussion going on. (Good lord, what a hoot!)
Yes, this is one of the first problems with David's "multiple personalities". I am prepared to accept that he has a right to his own blog and he can say whatever he wants there. But to post using a bunch of aliases to booster support for his own arguments is at best, silly, and at worst - unethical. Anyway, I wonder what his employers think about all of this (since, as I pointed out, most of his posts are made during work hours) I am guessing that they would rather he make posts that were wroth commenting on rather than trying to fake commentary to create the illusion that people actually care.

But if his employers are OK with this then I guess that's fine. That doesn't mean that the rest of us now have to take anything that is said by any commentator on the CTF blog seriously anymore - "Oh that's just David posting under a fake name" is the rule of the day.

If I was the head of the CTF I would be pissed that he has flushed away a valuable tool like their blog for getting their message out. Now it is just a laughing stock.

Next up is Robert McClelland

For the record I should add that I don’t particularly care if people use sock puppets. I just wanted to spread the information that the CTFers are cowards who hide their identities.
This is also a good point. Some of us have reasons for keeping our identities secret (more on this later) but why should David MacLean? Given that his job is making right-wing arguments in the media one would suspect that he is capable of standing behind his opinion. It is almost part of his job description.

One would suspect that even he knows that many of his posts cross the line and so feels compelled to hide behind a false name (or names). Again, one wonders why? Is it because he knows these posts might get him in trouble with his employer? I would assume that to be the case. So instead of not making posts that are over the line he just creates a false name and then says what he actually (presumably) thinks. Again, if his Director and "members" are OK with this type of behavior then fine, but I would think that the Taxpayers Federation would set a higher standard than this for their employees.

Maybe I am wrong.

This brings us to the Wingnutter

Now it is reported that David was using Sock Puppet BloggerID's to troll Progressive, Liberal and Left-Wing Blogs. When people caught him at he denied it, but now with his multiple personalities into one tight account the jig is up
David has been called on this tactic many times by many blog operators and has constantly denied this (see many of my links from yesterday to confirm this) . Now we know that he was lying - each and every time. Again, I guess if the Taxpayers Federation wants a known liar working for them that is fine - but one wonders what else he is lying about?

The policies of the Taxpayer's Federation?

The numerical analysis of government policy?

Anything else?

In my opinion, David has proven himself incapable of being taken at face value for anything that he says. Why should we believe anything that he says if his "true" comments only come out when he is blogging under a different name.

Again, if his boss and organization are fine with someone in their employee who is a known liar, who can't stand behind his own arguments and has made one of their communication tools the laughing-stock of the internet that is fine - that is there prerogative.

If it were me, David would be looking for another job - but whatever.

To agree with the Jurist - yes, David is having a bad day.

That brings us to the best point of all about this. Scott Tribe asks the following:

I’d like to hear a confirmation or a denial from him on what seems to be good evidence that GPM has produced, and if it is him, I’d like to hear him justify some of the stuff he was saying and posting anonymously about.
Indeed, as I pointed out yesterday David does have much to answer for and the perfect venue is coming up:

Tuesday, May 29th at 12:30 on CJME Mr. David MacLean will be on the air and people can phone in and ask questions. That will either be the John Gormley show or the Murry Woods show.

The number (at least for Gormley) is 1-877-332-8255.

I posted the list of questions that I wanted asked last night and I suggest people take a look at them before calling into the show (if that is your plan) .

I have one last point left to address. The only person that (sort of) came to David's defense (that I know of) was

Now. I understand that some people, people who use apostrophes as GPM does, really are stupid enough to believe that Maclean's comment could be interpreted as a defense of the Nazis.
To be fair, as I pointed out in my post, it was the National Post and Warren Kinsella that interpreted one of these points as "defending the nazis" I happen to agree and if that makes me stupid, I guess I am in good company at least.

He makes a second (better point) as well:

So far, we have the bloggers known as "Giant Political Mouse" and "Canadian Cynic" earnestly criticizing Maclean for blogging under an assumed identity
That's true I guess. However, I have one pseudonym "Giant Political Mouse" and I use that for all of my posts. Whenever I post on blogging tory sites or not. I disagree with blogging tories and I tell them so, but I defy you to find one BT who has ever accused me of "trolling" or behaving poorly on their sites.

In fact, in yesterday's post on this topic one of my readers made the following suggestion:

May I suggest swamping the CTF blog on David's latest post with questions about his trolling under sock puppets. He has been deleting mine and others comments but if we keep inundating the blog with comments, he won't be able to keep up and may after answer for his foolishness.
to which I responded:

I appreciate where you are coming from, but trolling his site just makes us as bad as we are claiming he is.

I think the public unmasking and subsequent shame should be enough punishment.
I will stand by my reputation as a gentleman when it comes to other people's blogs. On my own blog I might call you names six ways from Sunday, but I will be polite when I post on other people's blogs.

And that is the major difference. If you don't like what I have to say, or you think that what I have to say is of no value because I am anonymous then fine, don't read my blog. And I will leave you alone on yours.

It is not the anonymity of David that we have a problem with, it is his unacceptable attacks on our blogs. If he wants to pick a false name and start a false blog, fine, go ahead.

Besides, some of us might have a reason to be anonymous. For example, what if I work for the federal government? I have been fairly critical of Harper and the Conservatives and so if they knew who I was they might fire me. Should I lose my job over legitimate policy disagreements?

Perhaps. A case could be made I suppose.

But to compare that to what David is doing?

I don't think so.

Note: Check back here to see the result of today's radio show

Update: I bet that David does not show up on the radio: Here is a screen shot taken from his blog this morning:

And if you go there now you find that last comment has been deleted - He doesn't want anyone to know that he was going on the radio and would have to answer questions. (Obviously there were other comments that were deleted)

My guess? He is backing out of the radio spot.

SUPER-UPDATE: David is now trolling on my site (I wondered how long it would be until he showed up)

You will see, in the comments below, posts by a blogger called moneybags4me. You will note that this is one of the same posters that was featured in my post yesterday about David trolling all over the place. The links are here and here

Note that this "moneybags4me" seems to be obsessed with defending David MacLean.

You will take particular note that in the May 8th post - he gets called out as being a David MacLean sock puppet - and this is over a year ago.

Yet here he is today acting the same way, oh, and he is blocking his IP address.

How convenient.

Given the track record of David and his Legions of Sock Puppets I am 99% sure that "moneybags4me" IS David MacLean.

God, get a life, you loser.