Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Blogging gets as bad as everything else.

This is very disturbing to me. (local) Bloggers have a habit of picking up clever videos made by campaigns or other “interested” parties and posting them on their blogs. I don’t think I ever have, except for that animated thing, and I don’t remember how I did that (I followed some sort of instructions). And several of us have produced those little animated things (myself not using much of its capabilities) with our own words. Bram started with Ravenstahl’s words, I used (mostly) a post I had put up, and then Matt Hogue and Bram created some scripts.

But what I have just seen is different. You may remember that Matt Hogue had a post about Franco “Dok” Harris (the Mayoral candidate) that had an impressive amount of internet research and a nasty tone. The level of research was so impressive that at least a couple of people voiced the opinion that the Mayor’s office or campaign had written the post. Personally I don’t know what to believe. College students famously have a lot of spare time, but Matt seems more interested in the West End Council race. In fact now he is Anthony Coghill’s campaign manager.

This is all leading to the video on Matt’s blog “What will Patrick say next to get elected?”. This is essentially an anti Pat Dowd commercial. Matt doesn’t source it in the post, but a click on the You Tube link reveals it was created by someone who calls themselves “pghrebel”. I am willing to believe that is probably not Matt. This is the only video they have uploaded, although their favorite videos are listed, mostly they seem to have to do with males lifting weights. The video itself has no credits, although it does put text on the screen several times. Now I assume it has not hit the television airwaves, although I suspect it will soon.

What makes the video interesting is the amount of access this person has. Maybe I am naïve, but I wouldn’t know how to lift the PG’s video. I certainly wouldn’t know how to lift the City’s Council video. I recently heard a discussion about how the City wants to put the Council video on the web, but has not done so yet. So how would you get access to that video, unless you were either a City IT employee, or a high level City employee?

Even the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth identified themselves. This video cites no campaign, no 501c. It is does not let voters know it’s producer’s agenda. Seems to me this surely bends if not breaks campaign laws. And its on Matt’s blog.


Matt H said...

The video I posted is on my YOUTUBE. That user name is mine.

All of the Dok Harris stuff was researched by me. Spend some time doing it and it's all mine. Everything I write & post is from me. No one else.

I am interested in the Council District 2 race since it is my District and I have always supported Theresa Smith. The race I am involved with now is the Anthony Coghill race which is District #4.

EdHeath said...

Well, I'd be a bit more convinced if you had mentioned how you got access to City Council video. Not that you need to convince me or anything.

I certainly believe you produce the little animated things.

Do you see yourself as a rebel? Is that as in Confederate States of America, or existential Albert Camus sort of rebel?

Matt H said...

"Confederate States of America"

I do not support those Rebels.

EdHeath said...

A wee update, I have it on extremely good authority that one can buy CD's or DVD's of council meetings, for $10 each. That would work well if you knew exactly which meeting to buy. I assume one could figure that out based on meeting minutes and if you knew what date you were looking for. Then you would just need to lift the video you wanted from the disk.

I probably could have figured that out myself, but it was easier to ask around.

And I should acknowledge Matt's point that he is interested in the West End council district race (formerly Dan Deasy's district), but working on a race in the Southern most Council district (will be formerly JIm Motznik's district). I still have to check the City map to know exactly where each district is.

Mark Rauterkus said...

I do all of my own webmastering, audio and video production and such. It isn't such a big deal.

I don't want to sell myself short -- as I did release an ebook back in 1989. But, it is not big deal.

All of those council meetings should be available on the web. At least, they should have audio files via a service like So sad that they don't.

n'at said...

Go to the city clerk's webbysite and rummage through the agendas one-by-one to locate the legislative meeting of your desire, because the search engine doesn't operate no matter how much coaxing from boolean operands you patter through the keys... keen header on the site too!

EdHeath said...

Well, I am convinced that gut reactions elect politicians, not issues. But since I am also convinced blogs exert very little influence around here, let’s look at the issues. It’s been pointed out to me that people have different opinions, and there was simply a different opinion being expressed on Matt’s blog. I have reason to believe it Matt didn’t produce the video, but so what.

But do the issues the video raises actually play out? Pat Dowd voted with the rest of Council, at some point, to endorse the PWSA refi deal. Everybody bought in, including the Mayor, who among other things did not veto the vote (although the veto would not have stood, since (I believe) the Council vote was unanimous, but it would have said the Mayor realized the deal was bad). Now, I think we can all agree the refi deal has gone bad, and might be getting worse (if not, explain to me how it is good). But so far Pat Dowd is the only Council person to protest the deal. So has Michael Lamb, but evidently that doesn’t mean much, although it a form of validation for Dowd.

So, do we some how blame Dowd for changing his mind on a deal that evidently has gone bad? Is better late than never better than just never? The video essentially makes the accusation that once you have cast a vote, you can never change your mind in the face of new information.

Not that Pat Dowd is anywhere near the second coming. It’s just that by comparison…One of the comments on Matt’s blog was that the City Council meeting video’s and the PG’s material are not copyrighted. Well, you can look at the PG video site for yourself “Copyright ©1997 - 2009 PG Publishing Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved.”. Another comment suggested Dowd was a joke, handing out coffee while on City time. Like the Mayor played golf at UPMC and the Penguins expense, on City time, and lied about until forced to tell the truth? By comparison…

Mark Rauterkus said...

I would love to see the city sue for copyright infringement on a re-broadcasting of a city council meeting. That will be the day we get a new city solicitor, for sure.

If I was elected, I'd move to put a public domain statement on everything that the city does.

I'm a big fan of public domain.

As to the P-G interview, the first point would be a claim of fair use. There, humor helps. It is sorta a lampoon in a sick and twisted kinda way. The P-G lawyers are better served looking at employee buy-outs now, not campaign issue noise finding its way on YouTube.

Hell, Matt (or whomever), might want to send the P-G a bill for advertising its P-G web and turning the content into something that others should take notice of.

BTW, I remember when this came before council from the PWSA. It smelled bad then.

Laggard vs. Young Fluke. Humm...

I think that the YouTube clip is effective as a dis-credit to the mount of the campaign. We're watching. How one handles the bumps in the road are telling the most, it seems to me. There are sure to be other chapters.

Set the stage for the debates. They become more important as time shrinks. Carmen could rise as the two men sustain their blazing boyhood ways.

Bram Reichbaum said...

I just want to declare that my scripts were written spontaneously by me (I hope that was obvious), and not in any way coordinated with the Dowd campaign (except providing a link which was my decision). I can't imagine how Team Dowd feels about the opperation, they haven't put it up on their website.

By the way, their website is a great operation. The introductory page SUXXXX!!!!!!11! put when you FIND THE LINK and click past that grotesque mess, there is a fairly wonderland of elegant possibilities. Creating an account is recommended.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Ed posted, in part:

"... I am convinced that gut reactions elect politicians, not issues..."

Right on.

People are both rational and emotional. Some, far more of one than the other. To get a citizen's vote, a good measure of both styles of operating are necessary. Is a candidate make for a good vote for rational (logical) and emotional reasons?

Voter turnout might be low in the D primary.

And, if there was a NOTA (none of the above) choice, many more would vote and care.