Duncan Riley> With apologies to Andrew Jackson “My political enemies I can freely forgive; but as for who abused me when I was serving the Blogosphere in the field, and those who attacked me for serving the Blogosphere, this is a different case.” Or so the case may be in the war of sticks and stones led by Professor Juan Cole from the University of Michigan against a pair of blogging brothers from Iraq who dare speak of a positive future for their country in Iraq the Model that differs from his black armband view of the current situation. In a bizarre attack the Professor alleges an evil conspiracy by the US right in promoting the brothers and suggests that their Google hosted blog is suspect as it is hosted in Texas. Jeff Jarvis has come to the brothers defence in a debate that has included the use of the term “blog trolling”. Martini Republic suggests that Blog Trolling is a method of right-wing conspiracy
“In the blogosphere, the practice of “blog trolling” – touting the “right” messengers with a mix of above-board, official recognition and below-board, ideology-based, sustained pump-priming, to generate a following for propagandistic messengers far beyond their natural level of interest – and to perchance achieve key mainstream media placement without normal media vetting – can “celebritize” a messenger or messengers, and help to turn bloggers into propagandists.”
What it really amounts to though is a conspiracy theory of the likes of UFOs and Government mind control. In a fair society, and a fair blogosphere, bloggers should be aiming to argue with those in whom they disagree with ideas and argument based on facts and figures. The use of bizarre, unsupported conspiracy theories not only reflects poorly on its proponents, but reflects poorly on the entire blogosphere in a media environment which characterises the Blogosphere based on the act of a few individuals in a realm of millions. Indeed the continued reporting of this “theory” may indeed be picked up in the mainstream press shortly and the arguments of its proponents: that the point of “blog trolling” is to achieve key mainstream media placement without normal media vetting, may be proved if and when the media run with the conspiracy itself, and those casting the sticks and stones will have blog trolled themselves.