So I've been observing a fascinating little Newfoundland blog war going on between Geoff Meeker and Peter Whittle. Now, the origins of this little blog war, like all these online skirmishes, is kind of weird. It involved whether or not Geoff slandered a local CBC reporter, and what should journalists do when they've made a mistake on a story online. Should they correct it and, if so, how should they go about doing it.
Peter jumped on Geoff, he took it personally and we're off to the races. Now, for those interested in such things, there is an interesting debate in the mix about correcting mistakes online. Should you leave the story as is, run a strike through the offending text, change it without telling anyone, put up a notice letting readers know there have been changes made to the original story. If you're into that sort of thing, it's interesting reading. Once you get past the bile, of course.
No, the interesting thing for me was why I was immediately willing to give Geoff the benefit of the doubt and assume Peter was being a git.
It's not like I know one better than the other, I don't think. If I counted the number of times I've met each of them in person, I would suspect Peter would tip the scales as I served on student council with him back in the mid-90s. I stand to be corrected but I've only met Geoff a handful of times.
However, I think I understand Geoff. When I read their last two salvos in this spat (Geoff's is here and Peter's is here) one feels like as if it is written by someone clearly angry, but still measures that anger with a well reasoned argument. The other reads like it was written by a smarmy high school student who thinks he's much more clever than he actually is.
I think I simply "get" Geoff better. I don't pretend to know if he has any political allegiances, but if I had to hazard a guess, I suspect it might be something like mine - he's a professional opposition member. Some anonymous idiot posted on either Geoff or Peter's site that Geoff was simply jealous of Premier Williams wealth and power. It's a statement so ludicrous and off-base that I hesitate to mention it.
If it was Roger Grimes or Brian Tobin in there, Geoff would be doing the exact same thing. Maybe it's not the most noble or glamorous of political callings, but someone has to tell the emperor he's wearing no clothes. That's what Geoff likes to do, be it with politics or media. And good on him for doing that.
I've just never gotten a handle on Peter. I know where people like Ed and Wally are coming from and measure their comments and statements accordingly. But I can never get a feel for Peter. And I'm a touch distrustful of people whose writings I can't trust but I don't know where they're coming from this week.
I don't mind people being persuaded by a powerful argument. That's good. I like people who do not follow one political party with blinders no matter how far off the path they go. You should think and consider the policies and the people in a party and not just blindly vote for them just because they're wearing the right badge.
However, I just keep wondering what the angle is with Peter. I keep wondering what the angle was on this blow-up. Because what started off as a simple debate on a statement on an energy corporation and the role of media escalated in a pretty big hurry and Peter is at least partially responsible for adding the extra napalm. I wish I could say it was genuine intellectual curiosity by Peter and willingness to debate the issue.
But that's the problem with someone whose writing you don't trust. There's always that hint of suspicion about what they're really up to. Quite frustrating, really.
Last Five (four of these five songs are awesome and I can't choose)
1. Blackbird/Yesterday - The Beatles*
2. Lowdown - Tom Waits
3. No you girls - Franz Ferdinand*
4. Go back to your woods - Robbie Robertson*
5. Galician Overture - The Chieftans*