Gasp! Negative Comments About Bob Menendez
By now most New Jersey blog readers have heard about the kerfuffle over comments posted on Blue Jersey. So used to echo chamber comments to every post, Blue Jersey’s jmelli became suspicious when a couple of comments didn’t toe the party line.
Someone on the liberal political blog Blue Jersey has been posting -- gasp! -- anonymous criticisms of Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez.Well, at least one reporter seems to recognize “Astrogate” is much ado about nothing, but she still wrote the story. But, it's to be expected. When major players in your party are being investigated and convicted of political corruption on a regular basis, blog comments become a big deal.
Apparently, it’s outside the realm of possibility that three “Democrats, confused Democrats, wavering Democrats or former Democrats” aren’t thrilled with Bob Menendez. So the story goes that jmelli looked up the IP address for the critical comments and discovered they were from a Comcast business account in Union, five miles from Kean's campaign headquarters.
The Kean campaign’s technical adviser said that the Internet protocol, or I.P., address that linked the posts to the Kean headquarters was an old one, “from over a month ago.”So, we are told jmelli called a friend for help:
In a telephone interview Thursday, Melli said he was pretty certain the postings came from Kean's campaign but needed an e-mail from them to verify it. So he called a friend who had recently received an e-mail from Kean's campaign and the IP addresses were the same.The friend according to the New York Times turns out to be a reporter.
But an e-mail message Ms. Hazelbaker sent to a reporter on Wednesday shares the same I.P. address.There again is that cozy relationship among the Menendez campaign, Blue Jersey bloggers and reporters we’ve been writing about. (Isn’t there a news story or two in that?) Anyway, from this information jmelli took the grand leap of accusing Kean’s campaign spokeswoman, Jill Hazelbaker of personally being responsible for the blog comments.
An I.P. is an address, much like a telephone number, that in most cases is specific to an individual computer. But in this case, the Kean campaign registered a business account with Comcast, and it is likely that the entire office shares the same I.P. address — so the postings could have come from any computer within the headquarters in Mountainside, N.J.Has any reporter viewed the proof for this accusation? Just because jmelli was able to find out the Kean IP address from a reporter doesn’t prove any comments on Blue Jersey actually came from the address. Not a single report on this ho-ha mentions a reporter actually saw anything to verify the charge. The story seems to be based on jmelli’s word and little else. There was more skepticism from the press when a U.S. Attorney, with a perfect conviction record, launched a criminal probe into Bob Menendez’ business dealings.
Beyond the media's willingness to make a big deal out of the trivial from a highly partisan source, here’s what we make of all this. The Blue Jersey bloggers were unable to refute the comments and so they’ve resorted to complaining about the people who made them. They could have pointed out the source and then rebutted the commenters’ points, but obviously they couldn’t. So we get "Astrogate".
When we receive anonymous comments from Democrat campaign staffers we engage them in debate. That’s one of the differences between a political blog such as this one and a permanent Democrat campaign blog such as Blue Jersey. Not that there’s anything wrong with campaign blogs, New Jersey Republicans should create a “Red Jersey” blog.
We have no idea who was responsible for the “offending comments” on Blue Jersey, but it’s good to know there may be disaffected Democrats working for the Kean campaign.
At a news conference in Bergen County, surrounded by more than 20 Democrats who said they will vote for Kean, the candidate said "a sure sign of a failing campaign is when they stop attacking me and start attacking my staff."As each new poll comes out showing Kean in the lead, look for Democrats to become more hysterical. If taxes and corruption prove to be the issues in New Jersey’s Senate race then Kean is sure to win. If not, then the taxpayers of New Jersey are sure to lose, again.
Joe Rakowski, a former Jersey City councilman and acting mayor, said he and other Democrats support Kean. "There's a lot of animosity around Bob Menendez," Rakowski said.
In either case, blog comments will play absolutely no role in the outcome. Biased reporting in the media, that’s another matter. But, that’s the way it is in New Jersey and it’s not going to change for the foreseeable future. Heck, the pundits at our largest newspaper write glowing tributes to Democrats after they have pled guilty to political corruption and tax evasion. We don't expect anything less for those under criminal investigation.