An aide to Representative Charles Bass (R-NH) was forced to resign after posting comments critical of Bass’s Democratic opponent to two liberal political blogs. Evidently the bloggers traced the IP address used to post the comments to a House of Representatives computer. (Why do politicos seem so far behind the times in terms of technical awareness? Shocked, shocked I am that blog comments can be traced back to me!)
This phenomenon – spinning via blog – is pervasive. I don’t think it threatens the health of the blog world as a medium of information exchange, but it raises a question we’ve faced in many other fora: how do we weed out the wolves in sheeps’ clothing? As Congressional aides get smarter (the term “anonymizer” may be heard in Hill coffee shops and bars), how do bloggers and readers detect hidden agendas? Or is this too much worry for a relatively limited problem?