It’s the Russians.
Just kidding. It’s not the Russians.
Dirty Traverse has gotten a lot of attention in the last few days. The comments have been mixed. The speculations are certainly amusing. A few thoughts.
First, I’m not here for your approval or for your soap box about journalistic standards. I’d prefer to be judged by the content of the message, rather than the community status of the messenger. People have said that my thoughts aren’t credible because I’m anonymous. However, I have yet to hear anyone even suggest that anything I’ve written in two years is factually inaccurate – only that I shouldn’t be saying it or that they disagree with my opinions. Sorry-not-sorry, that isn’t yours to decide.
The Northern Michigan mainstream media outlets rarely ask the real questions. For example, Upnorthlive more or less just quoted the press release from TCAPS about the events of the last week. They take the party line and regurgitate it. They don’t go back to the public officials and go, yeah but… (Credit where it’s due — Interlochen Public Radio has a good grasp on the education issues, and the Record Eagle seems to be waking up a little in the past week, so maybe there’s still hope.)
All of this raises interesting questions – What is journalism? What makes it good or bad? Who decides if journalism is “real” journalism or if it is credible? How have those standards changed with the proliferation of technology in the post-millennial era? If I had a background in mainstream journalism, would you think I was credible then? What about a degree in education? What if I had a law degree? What if I’m “just” a tradesman? What if I sell cars or drive a snowplow? Why do you need to know who I am or whether an institution of higher education has approved of me in order to evaluate my work? Write a 3-paragraph essay in the comments. Cite your sources, or don’t.
The question of whether it’s ethical or appropriate to write under a pseudonym or pen name has been a debate in journalism for some time. People have been doing it for centuries. Mark Twain and Dr. Seuss are two pen names, for example. Keeping a pseudonym anonymous doesn’t give you copyright protection, but as I’ve said earlier, it doesn’t matter because this website makes chump change. The reasons to write under a pseudonym are two: First, to protect your own safety. Second, to direct the reader to evaluate your writing based on its content rather than based on your name or credentials.
In my case, both of these things are true. They’re actually threatening Erica Moon Mohr with jail at the moment – and on very shaky grounds since she probably didn’t break a law at all. I’m sure it frustrates the haters that they don’t know who I am so they can customize their name-calling and whatever else they would try to shut down dissent.
The point of Dirty Traverse is to help residents connect the dots of the Northern Michigan political web. A lot of people have started to connect those dots in the past week at least as far as TCAPS is concerned. When the student count fraud was initially reported, the local media more or less painted it an accounting error that the MDE was being unreasonable about. That’s if they reported on it at all. It’s a good thing that the events of this week are starting to draw a healthy skepticism about the Homeschool Partnership fraud and the other financial wheelings and dealings of the district.
Dirty Traverse is a political commentary in hopes of making a difference that I think needs to be made that I choose to write under a pseudonym. If you don’t like my site or what I write, don’t read it. Guess what? You don’t get to grade me for your middle school journalism class. I get to write it, even if you don’t approve of it. With the proliferation of technology, anyone can have a voice. The “right” people are no longer the gatekeepers. To the people who are used to being the “right” people, gee, isn’t it hard to let go of power and control?
Later, I’m going to fact check the Sue Kelly interview. Check back later for that. Or don’t.