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Popular with POGO... again

We're popular with POGO... again. And actually they are ticked off at FCW columnist Steve Kelman for his column, Buying commercial.

Here is the start of their post:

Buying Blind

Just because Federal Computer Week (a government contractor rag) listed POGO as the only non-profit in "10 organizations worth watching" doesn't mean they have the right to print an attack on us, and then stiff-arm us when we ask for permission to reprint their column on our website so we can fully and thoroughly respond to it. Unfortunately, we are forced to excerpt from Steve Kelman's latest drivel, "Buying commercial: The debates about commercial contracting and government risk involve high stakes," which was published on June 11, 2007.

I won't specifically comment on the rest of POGO's post. I will, however, set the record straight on the so called "stiff-arm."

In fact, I did give POGO the right to excerpt to Kelman's column, just as we give everybody the right to do.

On Tuesday, June 12 at 9:55 a.m., POGO's general counsel, Scott Amey, sent me the following note:

Mr. Dorobek,

POGO is requesting permission to reprint Mr. Kelman's "Buying commercial" op-ed published on June 11, 2007 (http://www.fcw.com/article102921-06-11-07-Print). POGO would like to comment on it on POGO's blog (http://pogoblog.typepad.com/) and therefore we would like to appear in its entirety. POGO will link to FCW's site and include the following statement:

This material reprinted from FCW.com appears here with the permission of the publisher. Further use without the permission of FCW.com is prohibited.

Thank you for your consideration.

Scott H. Amey
General Counsel

At 10:21 a.m. -- less then a half-hour later -- I responded with the following note:

You can always excerpt, provided you provide credit and a link.
More here.
If you need more, let me know.

I'm not blocking any organization from saying whatever they want -- and they can excerpt as much of it as they want and people can read Kelman's column for themselves.

Of course, they always refer to us as "a government contractor rag." Always pleasant. But it raises two points. First, I am always perplexed by the need these days, in lieu of a debate, to insult people and question their motives. It happens on talk radio so much these days, which I don't listen to anymore. But Michael Moore has also made a career out of this brand of... well, whatever it is. It's certainly not journalism. Too often, people throw out a number of facts and then roll their eyes as if to say, 'Now, how could all of this be true if there weren't waste, fraud, abuse and corruption.'

(Aside: To be honest, I don't really buy people complaining about 'special interest groups,' because aren't special interest groups us? If you have an interest and it isn't being represented, I can almost guarantee that there is some group out there -- some special interest group -- that is looking for members or money.)

Secondly, just so people have the facts, our readers are not contractors. They are predominantly government employees. That is why companies advertise -- not to reach contractors, but to get in front of agencies that buy, use and manage government systems.

And finally, I am not going to get into a debate on the column itself. Kelman can take care of that himself. But I'm perplexed by the idea that FCW would strong arm this organization. After all, I personally -- despite many people's protests -- have given POGO the opportunity to offer commentary for this magazine, such as this column last September -- and if they want to respond to Kelman, I again offer them the opportunity.

Furthermore, I'm the one who put the organization on the list of 10 organizations worth watching -- again, despite protestations. (One might note that GSA made No. 1 on that list.) They made the list not because I agree or disagree with them. They made the list because, I believe, it is valuable to have a contrary voice. It is healthy and valuable.

Why did people balk when I paid attention to POGO? My sense is that they find POGO shrill. They find POGO more interested in winning then they are in having a discussion. And, frankly, people feel that they don't listen and that they are part of the yelling crowd -- the loudest person wins! As you might have guessed, I also don't watch cable news. Me and three other people watch PBS' NewsHour every night, where no screaming is allowed.

Anyway, POGO's Executive Director Danielle Brian concludes her post with:

But we won't be buying any subscriptions to FCW anytime soon.

Perhaps, but my guess is they will keep reading. (They seem to love Kelman.)

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Jun 18, 2007 at 12:16 PM


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