PBS show about Ohio’s bloggers deconstructed

Hey, Ohio blogosphere, did you get a chance to see the PBS show that was about you?  Now that the airings of the show on PBS and The Ohio Channel have concluded, you’ll have to look to online sources to view the September 26 installment of “The State of Ohio,” which features Ohio’s political blogosphere (unless you purchase a DVD or VHS of it here).

Right now, the video can be viewed on the portal page of “The State of Ohio,” but as weeks pass, you’ll have to access the 9/26/08 episode from it’s archive page.

OK.  Did you click on a link in the prior paragraph so that you could view it?  If so, we are ready to deconstruct it.

Karen Kasler, who’s hosting the show, recaps the week’s news headlines in Ohio during the first 5 minutes.  The segment about the blogosphere begins at the 5:15 mark, or five minutes fifteen seconds into the video footage.

Eric Vessels, of Plunderbund and Progress Ohio, is the guest who’s sitting next to me during the blogging segment.  Plunderbund posted a TIVO-replicated video-clip of the program.  Before getting the first on-screen look at Eric Vessels and myself, Karen Kasler makes reference to a left-wing national political blog, Huffington Post (at the 5:45 mark), then a right-wing national political blog, Townhall (at the 5:46 mark), and then segues into discussion of Ohio’s political blogs.  Eric’s first on-screen appearance occurs at the 5:56 mark.  A screenshot of Plunderbund’s front page is shown at the 5:59 mark.  My first on-screen appearance occurs at the 6:08 mark, with a screen-shot of the front page of Buckeye RINO shown at the 6:12 mark.

At 6:38, Karen Kasler segues into the discussion of the presidential campaigns’ activities in Ohio, and how Ohio’s bloggers have responded.

Because Eric spoke of communications between local and national bloggers, at 8:26, Karen Kasler guided the conversation toward the interaction and cooperation between Ohio’s blogs, noting that my blog referenced Carnival of Ohio Politics, edited that week by Jill Miller Zimon, of Writes Like She Talks.  Other editors of the Carnival of Ohio Politics include Lisa Renee, of Glass City Jungle, Ben Keeler of The Point, and Keeler Political Report, and, until recently, Scott Piepho of Pho’s Akron Pages.  If you are a blogger who would like to have the best 3 of your past week’s posts on Ohio politics included in the Carnival of Ohio Politics, dash over to the webpage and send an email.  Eric spoke about how searchable blogs are, and how easy it is to link up from many sources.  Eric’s Plunderbund post notes that some of his comments during this segment hit the cutting room floor.  Also on the cutting room floor was Karen Kasler directing a question at me that mentioned the right-wing State of Ohio Blogger Alliance.

At the 9:46 mark, Karen Kasler poses the question of “Who are you bloggers?”  Eric joked that he was tempted to play into the stereotype by wearing pajamas into the studio.  I didn’t get a chance to say who I was, as a blogger, until later in the program.  I won’t say what I’m wearing right now as I type this.

At the 10:50 mark, Karen Kasler starts asking about the influence that bloggers have on politics.  Eric and I talk about how cost-effective blogs are, as messages can be spread without cash outlays.  Blogs are able to fill a niche in cases where the MSM is silent and where campaigns lack the cash to advertise.  The diversity of opinion allows voters to learn the pros and cons of issues and candidates as they search the blogs.  If someone finds their viewpoint unrepresented in the blogosphere, Eric points out, at the 11:59 mark, that one can launch their own blog with relatively little difficulty.  Eric mentions WordPress (at the 12:16 mark) as one of the available blogging platforms, which also happens to be the platform that I use.  Eric said (at the 12:27 mark) his interest in blogging was sparked by Daily Kos.  He also mentions (starting at the 12:32 mark) Chris Baker, who’d been on hiatus more recently, but who had risen to prominence at Ohio 2nd Blog as being inspirational in Eric’s initial writings at Plunderbund.

Eric had made use of the term “citizen journalists,” so at the 13:09 mark, Karen Kasler asks for elaboration on that point.  Eric and I did not bash the MSM at this point, though I’ve been known to bash some media outlets on this blog.  We maintained a level of civility, though Eric pointed out that bias exists in the media, just as it does in blogs.

At the 16:27 mark, Karen Kasler steers the conversation towards partisanship, not just between Democrat and Republican, but of minor parties, too.  Some of my blog entries touched on the presidential candidacy of Libertarian Bob Barr (here, here, and especially here and here).  Karen Kasler asks why the blogosphere is so polarized and why alternative voices from outside the major parties aren’t more prominent.  The tug-of-war between Democrats and Republicans does generate web traffic in the blogosphere, and though we may try to steer the conversation in other directions, readership is substantially greater when inter-party bickering comes into play.  There is a silver lining for minor party and independent candidates that allows them to be part of the political discourse, through blogs, without needing tons of money for campaign advertising.  Eric advances the idea that inter-party bickering can be more entertaining, and mentions Jon Stewart of the Daily Show, at the 17:26 mark, as someone who approaches politics from that angle.  Karen Kasler, at the 17:45 mark, notes my claim that liberals think I’m too conservative (re: abortion, guns, gay marriage, small government) while conservatives think I’m too liberal (re: labor, education, environment, diversity), which is what led me to employ the RINO (Republican In Name Only) designation.

One of the major points of departure between myself and Eric is that he is fed the talking points of his party, while I’m not fed the talking points of mine.  Karen Kasler asks about that at the 19:35 mark.  Eric pointed out that he’s judicious about whether to go ahead and print the party’s talking points.  At the 20:12 mark, he pointed to a time when, Democrat Party, or not, he participated in the blogswarm criticisms of former Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann.  Printing talking points without fact-checking can lead to loss of credibility.  Eric took advantage of an opportunity to lash out, at the 21:48 mark, at Matt Hurley, of Weapons of Mass Discussion (Eric substituted Destruction for Discussion) as someone who printed talking points in the Ohio 7th Congressional District contest between Steve Austria and Sharen Neuhardt before all the facts had been checked.  Karen Kasler jumps in, at the 21:59 mark to note that Matt Hurley was not present to defend himself, stopping Eric from elaborating more.  Not all the facts were in, but, in my opinion, Neuhardt can’t just sweep the immigration issue under the rug, unaddressed, and still look like a leader who will engage in honest discourse on the issues of the day with the people she wishes to represent.  If she thinks the nation’s laws on seeking asylum need revision, then she should please spell that out for us.  The intro that I didn’t get to make at the 9:46 mark, when Karen Kasler first asked whether bloggers work in the basement while wearing underwear, was finally made at the 21:04 mark, when I describe myself as a failed politician, one of several who blog who had lost their last election.

Karen Kasler, at the 22:11 mark, noted that one right-wing blogger had declined to come on the program, citing that Ohio’s political blogosphere hadn’t yet matured to the point of possessing enough gravitas to merit a TV news segment.  Matt Naugle, of Naugblog, outs himself as the blogger referenced.

I pointed out, at the 23:06 mark, the increasing length of the blogroll at BlogNetNews: Ohio, to show that the Ohio political blogosphere is gathering strength.

If you’ve read my very first post here at Buckeye RINO, then you know that I contributed to Word of Mouth blog before launching Buckeye RINO.  I make mention of this at the 22:45 mark.  Eric responded, at the 22:56 mark, with a shout out to Scott Bakalar, who, with his wife, Michele, started a blog after becoming fed up with sewers that would back up and flood his basement after some hard rains.  Hi, Scott!

Eric Vessels, at the 23:32 mark, pointed to Plunderbund’s political muscle in getting a candidate endorsement yanked, and that candidate lost an election.

To make my final point (beginning at the 24:58 mark) about the power of blogs, I pointed to Word of Mouth (as an aside, I acknowledge that Buckeye RINO is still small pototoes in the real world).  During the summer of 2007, some contributors at Word of Mouth expressed dismay at Lorain City Schools (one of the largest school districts in Ohio), and called for the public to make their voice heard, and advocate for change.  There was a shakeup in the Board of Education elections last year, as incumbents were swept out of office.  A blogger’s (Brian Hazelett’s) rallying cry was instrumental in mobilizing hundreds of teachers, parents, students, and other community members, to show up in force at school board meetings.  In addition to Scott, Michele, and Brian, the other Word of Mouth bloggers (Kelly Boyer Sagert, “Henery Hawk,” Loraine Ritchey, Jim Smith, Paula Tobias, Dale Lieb, and Roman K.) at that time also stoked the fires that turned a passive community into an active one.  The local print news media and the Cleveland TV media trudged out to Lorain to report on the community’s rally.  It’s an example of the power of what a blog can do and foreshadows the possibility of even greater political muscle that Ohio blogs might flex in the future.

17 Responses to “PBS show about Ohio’s bloggers deconstructed”

  1. Eric Says:

    You calling my mention of WMD (sorry for the destruction slip Matt and Mark) “lashing out” would belie your own bias. It was a relevant point if we are talking about blogs and campaigns.

    The bottom line is the Austria campaign fed Hurley a bunch of oppo that he ran with to smear Sharen while not bothering to check all the facts. The campaign and Matt repeatedly used the term “illegal alien” when in fact none existed.

    You personally leave out facts in the matter as well in your commentary above. You should also include this link that includes this passage:

    Lea Webb, a Cincinnati-based immigration attorney, said Umuhoza does not meet the legal definition of “illegal immigrant.” She said it’s not unusual for immigrants to move in and out of legal status without knowing it.

    At least for now, she said, Umuhoza “has been granted the ability to be here.”

    Sharen hasn’t swept anything under the rug at all. She has fought for Ishema since coming into contact with him, doing the honorable thing by helping a kid from a war torn country. Your ability to forgive the right for a nasty personal attack, again, shows what side of this you are on. The only links you include are Matt’s smear post and the original DDN article that allowed him to do it? Come on Daniel!

    You also don’t link to my response to Hurley, but you could have.

    Nice play-by-play. It was fun to do and it was good to finally meet you.

  2. buckeyerino Says:

    I lash out, from time to time, too. I don’t think the expression necessarily means I take a dim view of the person who is lashing out, nor does it necessarily mean that I think the person being lashed out against is necessarily an innocent lamb.

    I did acknowledge that WMD and the Daily Dayton News ran with talking points before all the facts were known, and I don’t think I forgave the fact. I agree that Ishema has a right to be here until his next asylum hearing rules on his status. The last WMD link that I provided shows that prior asylum hearing requests were denied, but new asylum requests keep being made. There is an issue that Neuhardt needs to speak up about. If she believes the system is broken, then where does she spell out, in detail, what needs to be fixed, and how? Do you have a link that fleshes out her positions on immigration? That’s what I’m interested in.

  3. Eric Says:

    We don’t need a position statement to tell us that the Austria campaign are liars. Matt Hurley is a liar. We don’t need to know anything about what Sharen may or may not believe on immigration issues. She obviously believes those who come here legally from war torn countries deserve a chance to succeed. Given all his troubles, their support of Ishema shows that. Cleary.

    Why not ask about Steve Austria’s positions? Given he raised the issue in the form of a personal smear against his opponent I would venture to guess that is the more important point. The entirety of his “position” rests on the same tired fear and loathing that the GOP has been baiting us with for years:

    In Congress, Steve Austria will work hard to secure our nations’ borders and oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants.

    Great. I’m sure we can all agree not to support illegal activity. I don’t think this not very thought out position (GOP copy-paste) is enough to justify smearing an opponent with disgusting lies and dog whistling about evil illegal aliens.

    You might ask the Neuhardt campaign what her position is. I don’t really care because knowing that won’t change the way I see this Austria smear one iota. Your asking for it is a diversion to the heart of the matter, which is that Steve Austria, Brad Mascho, and Matt Hurley all decided to smear a candidate for Congress because she supported a refugee from a war torn country. They lied. No fleshing out of policies on immigration will change that.

    Reasonable people will see it for what it is. Election year scare tactics by the GOP. Others will be blinded by their partisanship and either cheer or excuse the actions of the reprehensible.

  4. buckeyerino Says:

    They were impulsive. They were reckless. They jumped on a narrative without vetting the facts of the story. It was irresponsible.

    (Of course, we’ve seen an unprecedented onslaught of smears against Palin continue unabated, even after rumors upon rumors were debunked. But we won’t digress and talk about that, will we?)

    They had to backpedal after the truth caught up with them. The later post from WMD clearly shows that. Therefore, you are right. I concede your point to that extent.

    Now, my question is, will Neuhardt talk about the elephant in the room, or not?

    I’ve posted a little bit of my views on immigration here on this blog.


    It’s one of those position paper kind of posts that nobody really reads. But if I, a nobody, can put forth an opinion on the immigration issue, then certainly, a candidate for Congress could reasonably be expected to spell out his/her views on immigration, especially being as versed in immigration law as Neuhardt apparently is.

    If she fully spelled out her views, then this would stop being a tit-for-tat discussion, and would switch over to a substantive discussion. Would she be interested in something like that?

  5. Matt Hurley Says:

    I am sick and tired of being called a liar by the likes of Eric Vessels. I’ll make this crystal clear one more time. I was NOT contacted by the Austria campaign nor was I provided oppo-research from the Austria campaign. The WMD Blast post was, again, nothing more than a link to the DDN piece and a summary of the gist of the story. It was not intended to be whatever wild and crazy conspiracy story that Eric Vessels thinks that it was. I saw the piece in that morning’s PolitickerOH morning email of links and I thought was interesting and worth a link. I had no idea that was a thought crime, but in Eric’s world, apparently, it is. His over the top reaction to my simple linking of a story made me realize that there was more to this story than meets the eye because there was clear coordination amongst the center-lefty blogs on a response to the story and they were willing to smear anybody who even mentioned the story.

    As far as I am concerned, it is over…and I’ll not be wasting my time responding to whatever vile spewage comes forth in response. Thanks, Eric, but I have better things to do…

    But it is good to know that Eric admits to running Dem talking points. While I do receive press releases, I clearly label those when I run them…Eric apparently gets his marching orders and off he goes. I’ll remember that…

  6. Matt Hurley Says:

    Oh, and apology accepted on the verbal slip on the WMD name… 🙂 Stuff like that happens on the fly…

  7. buckeyerino Says:

    Well, we wind up right back at the Dayton Daily News. Eric, what do you think? Sounds to me as though Matt Hurley fully acknowledges that the first report was amiss, and his source wasn’t the Steve Austria campaign. I think it’s just one of those things that happens when we assume that the MSM got the story right, rather than a premeditated attempt at distortion.

    I think if the Neuhardt campaign wants to change the conversation from tit-for-tat to something substantive, it has the power to turn the page and do just that, which I’ve already alluded to.

  8. LisaRenee Says:

    Daniel, I think you did a nice write up of the show and I agree with quite a bit of what you shared. I don’t however agree with you on the Sharen Neuhardt story, it’s one I blogged about before anyone else in the blogosphere did, since the story bothered me enough that I stayed up till after 4:00 a.m. to finish it the day the Dayton News article came out.

    The context in which Eric mentioned it on the show was to give an example of a blog being used, which as I pointed out when I blogged the story is a classic example of how opposition research is shopped around until a media source or a blog picks up the story, which was written about before the WMD post. The way the Austria campaign and the RNCCC were presenting this was not factual and was done to try to create the impression that Neuhardt had done something illegal, which is not true.

    The question of should this scenario even been one that was reported on demonstrates the selectivity of the media and both parties. Republicans say on one hand that Palin’s family should be off limits, then make an issue out of someone who’s not running for office. Who’s minor crimes pale in comparison to just about the whole crew of the Executive Committee of the Lucas County Republican Party as well as many electeds on both sides that have had more brushes with the law from a drinking or traffic standpoint.

    If this story was felt to be news, both the Dayton Daily News and the Austria campaign have done the public a disservice to suggest that the type of legal issues this young man has had would create a scenario where he would be blocked from citizenship. Immigration laws typically require that crimes committed within five years of coming to the US and involve a potential sentence of at least one year typically generate deportation, this would not generally include traffic law violations or public intoxication.

    Personally, I don’t think this type of smearing needs to exist in politics from either party. I also have a problem with the selectivity factor of demanding some higher standard of behavior from people that is not expected from elected officials of the party trying to use the smear.

  9. Matt N. Says:

    This is part of what drives me nuts about Ohio blogs- So much personal back and forth. We are so lame.

  10. buckeyerino Says:

    Lisa Renee, I understand what you are saying. I’ve already acknowledged that Dayton Daily News got the story wrong. I’m not maintaining that Neuhardt did anything wrong.

    Immigration, though, is an issue that a lot of candidates for federal office are glossing over, including presidential candidates. Regarding the tit-for-tat conversation going on in the Austria-Neuhardt race, I’m suggesting that we move beyond that, and one way to do that is to present a message about immigration policy. Without that happening, this remains a tit-for-tat, and the public perception is that the issue of immigration is being tip-toed around.

    I think the page can be turned. Will Neuhardt turn the page, and outshine Austria by doing so? Or will this mind-numbing squabble go on the same way it began?

    Neuhardt is a Democrat running in a Republican Congressional District for an open seat, so she has to outperform Austria to have a shot at winning. If this election is all about being a victim, then that’s a losing campaign strategy in this Congressional district. That’s why the onus is upon Neuhardt to go for a game-changer, because the current game favors Austria. Since she’s apparently very knowledgeable about immigration law, she should spell out her views on this critical issue, and show that she refuses to get caught up in this tit-for-tat while giving the public the information that they really want to know about.

  11. Eric Says:

    Naugle doesn’t like personal back and forth? Please.

    As for Hurley, you posted that Ishema was an illegal alien. That was a lie. I missed the retraction. You said something about someone that WAS NOT TRUE. Own it, bro. You got played.

    Again, if anyone thinks Matt Hurley did original research in getting those court documents after he saw a PolitickerOH link and read the DDN story then I got a bridge up there in Alaska to sell ya.

    You’re claiming we are smearing you because we hit back against your original smear? Please, dude. Get a grip. You shopped some oppo and you caught called out for it. Had you done any original (and thorough) research, you’d have found out the truth of the matter that was eventually reported by the DDN and even better by Roll Call.

    I’m not claiming you are a liar in regards to the oppo research – that’s just a hunch (and a damned good one). I’m claiming you lied about Ishema. You called him an illegal alien when he’s not. You said “This document proves that Mr. Umuhoza is considered to be an illegal alin by the United States government and also shows that he is living with the Neuhardt family.” The post has not been updated with any new information and you have not retracted your vile smear even when presented with information countering your and Brad Mascho’s claim that Sharen is “allegedly” harboring an illegal alien.

    If you fessed up, updated the post (or posted a new one), and had any sense of integrity whatsoever, then yes this could be considered over. Until then I’ll just have to call them like I see them.


    As for marching orders, it is pretty clear to anyone who reads our blogs who is under orders and who is not. I did not say I run Dem talking points. I said I get stuff from the party and from campaigns. I decide what I blog about and for sure do more than spout talking points. You are a very good liar though.

    Bottom line, Matt. If you say things that aren’t true and aren’t willing to correct them? You are lying. Look it up.

  12. Eric Says:

    Last thought here and all I care to add. If you are sick and tired of me calling you a liar, then STOP LYING! Seriously. Apologize to Ishema. Correct your post calling him an illegal alien. Apologize to Sharen for smearing someone she tried (and is trying) to help rebuild a life destroyed by a warn torn country.

    Then we can get on with things. But until then, Matt, you are just an oppo shopping liar. Sorry, bro. I don’t want it to be true. Doesn’t change the fact that it is.

  13. Kelley Bell Says:

    I loved the post, but the bickering is beyond me. Thanks to Karen for running the story on “The State of Ohio” and to all the members of the emerging media who take the time to write.

  14. buckeyerino Says:

    Thanks for commenting. I don’t think I need to keep repeating myself about the tit-for-tat back-and-forth, but then again, maybe I do. As an onlooker, it appears one side has moved on, while the other side hasn’t, and I don’t think Neuhardt is employing a winning strategy.

  15. Brian Says:

    Daniel and Eric,
    You both did a great job. DJW, you almost pronounced my name right!lol

  16. buckeyerino Says:

    Sorry. It’s a long “a” sound, in the first syllable, isn’t it? Is that how I goofed it up?

  17. JMZ not writing and talking like she used to « Buckeye RINO Says:

    […] visiting Columbus last month to tape a segment of “The State of Ohio” for broadcast on PBS and The Ohio Channel, Eric Vessels of […]

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