Saturday, September 16, 2006

Cardin Fires Staffer Over Blog Comments

Congressman Ben Cardin, the Democratic nominee for Maryland's open US Senate seat, fired a low-level staffer yesterday after learning of comments she posted on her blog, Road Diaries of the Persuasionatrix. The unnamed staffer apparently made several racially-charged "Oreo" references (a la the Michael Steele cookie pelting incident), as well as comments some construed to be anti-Semitic (Cardin is Jewish).

Persuasionatrix has deleted most of the offending posts, but (warning to bloggers here) once something is on the net, it can be cached. In this case, Wizbang saved the passages in their original format. He also has a pretty good idea who the anonymous blogger really is.

Alright, a couple of observations here -

First, campaigns need to recognize that staff may blog about their experiences and they need to deal with that fact up front. Create a policy regarding on/off-record observations, privacy and disclosure agreements. I don't think campaigns should ban blogging (it, like corporate blogging, can help put a personal face on a public image, can help create buzz, can help disseminate information, etc), but it's only smart to lay out some parameters.

Second, for bloggers, don't be stupid! Even if you blog anonymously, you shouldn't post anything you wouldn't want to be splashed on the front page of the Post. If you're a campaign staffer, you should consider the ramifications of what you post on your candidate, should your blog be associated with the campaign. You should also realize that in this day and age, it may well be possible for others to figure out your identity.

Your thoughts?

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