Birthers find FCW
Open Government Dialogue sliming draws readers
Federal Computer Week received its share of abuse after reporting on how the Open Government Dialogue was overrun by individuals demanding that President Barack Obama produce evidence that he is a natural-born citizen of the United States. In short, we wrote that the dialogue got slimed.
The article, which appeared as the Buzz of the Week in the June 8 print edition, received hundreds of comments in a short time. However, it is our policy to approve comments before posting, and we informed readers that we would not post comments that simply reiterated their charges. Instead, we invited them to comment on the process used to manage the Open Government Dialogue or any other aspect of online public engagement.
Here is a sampling of the comments — edited for length and clarity — that we received and posted.
The issue is not that birthers have posted their pet issue — it's that it was posted over and over again to the point of crowding out other ideas and skewing discourse far away from the original intent of the OGD. Had the birthers posted the idea in a single location and repeatedly voted for it, this article wouldn't have been written.
So, when lots of folks agree with your position, that's a majority, a groundswell of public opinion.… But when lots disagree with your opinion, that same level of expression becomes “slime?"
One could certainly make the case for removing insulting posts, but posts that make a thoughtful case on the eligibility issue should not be removed if transparency is the goal. This issue lives because Obama made transparency an issue in the campaign. Evidently he's not interested in transparency when the light is trained upon HIM.
I do not support spamming either and believe the appropriate course of action is to have ONE or maybe a FEW "birth certificate" posts and simply vote thumbs up on those if one supports the sentiment … or post comments on the topic but not start new topics. Still, the eligibility question is ultimately part of open government, and if the White House decides the issue is beneath them, they are defeating the purpose of their new Web site.
I do not find the comments on the open dialogue site to be without merit, even though you might. The responses were absolutely within the parameters of openness. If the president does not have to be open, how can the government be open? It appears Federal Computer Week is staffed by foolish government hacks.