Sunday, March 26, 2006

Little Matt Jr.

Do conservative kids grow up saying, "I want to be like Matt?" Do other states have their own Matt Drudge wannabes? Well, Louisiana has its own Drudge imitator, Chad Rogers of The Dead Pelican. The format of both sites is the same, with a mixture of political and general interest stories, as well as the occasional "exclusive." In both cases a strong conservative slant comes through both in the selection of stories deemed noteworthy and through the use of misleading headlines. This weekend, for example, the DP has the headline, "THIRD WORST GOVERNOR" for a story on Blanco's low job approval ratings and, apparently, the only newsworthy endorsements were those of Republican ex-governors Roemer and Foster of Republican Secretary of State candidate Mike Francis. Also, the exclusives that both sites run seem to be designed to pressure or embarrass Democratic politicians or administrations.

That last item was particularly laughable:

The story behind that story is one of frustration, going back to the Foster years. The owners of the domain name "" have been trying for years to work out a deal with the state for them to either buy or lease the name. While the parties involved want to make money from the deal, they also want to promote the state in a positive way. But the state is not interested.

And this sparks another concern. Dean Cooper, one of the stockholders in the project and owner of Geaux Web Technologies, says that the domain name could be used to point to ANY kind of web site- EVEN PORN SITES!

Let me give Matt Jr. a not-so-exclusive, domain licensing has been a problem since the beginning of the internet. That kind of thing happens all the time, there were even a few lawsuits a few years ago. Most of the law suits were thrown out if trademarks weren't involved, sometimes the party with obvious interest purchased the domain name, more often not. He's really going to have to try a little harder if he wants to make the administration look bad.

None of the above would concern me in the least (he has as much right to his conservative blog as I do to my liberal one), but, for some odd reason, the Times Picayune seems to find his observations on the mayoral election noteworthy. Admittedly, I found the now controversial commercial questionable; mainly I thought that it didn't address any of the real issues in the campaign. However, I've yet to see a commercial by any of the three front runners that does.

Frankly though, I did have the same questions as Mr. Rogers about the commercial. Well, I didn't have the question about makeup-- I just don't notice whether other guys are wearing makeup. However, I did wonder that somebody just happened to film him rescuing stranded flood victims, but considering the number of film crews in town and the fact that everybody who stayed seemed to have a camcorder, it really didn't seem all that odd. What seems more unlikely, that somebody would film Landrieu during the hurricane or that Landrieu would be crass enough to stage a rescue? I think that even William of Occam would call it a coin toss. Still, because the commercial raised an obvious (if easily answered) question, it did show poor judgment. I just can't understand anyone considering it a major controversy.

It is interesting that somebody so interested in the appearance of impropriety in a political campaign would be so unconcerned about the appearance of journalistic impropriety on his own web site. Mind you, I'm not suggesting anything untoward, it just seems oddly curious that the two ads on Rogers' website this weekend are for Mike Francis and Geaux Web. I seriously doubt that there's any quid pro quo involved, but Rogers does seem to have a strong interest in appearances.

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