Fellow blogger Dan Kennedy, over at Media Nation, raises a thoughtful question. I'll pose it to you for your advice.
Dan says that in a post like the one I wrote yesterday, which criticizes a proposal by the Governor, I should disclose that I am supporting another candidate (Charlie Baker) in the next gubernatorial race. You can see how I and other people responded. What's your view?
To help you get started, one friend later wrote me the following note:
I don't see that you have any obligation to state your political position on your own blog. No one ever expected you to declare who you supported for president when you commented on national health reform and other issues over the years.
Another pair of friends replied:
We agree that you are well within your rights to not disclose. Having said that, given that you are so well-positioned as an advocate for transparency, disclosure, as Dan points out, is not necessary a bad thing. We don’t think that it’s necessary to disclose every single time – once on your blog would be sufficient. You may want to consider that all of the people who read your blog may not have seen anything in the Globe about the Charlie issue, and would probably welcome the additional information.
If we think back to the early days of social media, the first question people wanted to know was how to separate the wheat from the chaff. One of the ways we learned that blogs build status is through authenticity and allowing readers to better get to know the author. Disclosing only adds to the authenticity of your blog; we’re not sure it detracts at all.
Even accepting the wisdom of these latter two friends, I have to ask the question, "What constitutes a level of support for a candidate that would warrant disclosure?" Is it that I have donated money? (This fact will be published by the state.) Is it that I have said publicly that I support the candidate? Is it that I have said privately that I support a candidate? Is it that I support a candidate in my head but haven't yet told anybody? And what if I change my mind during the course of a campaign?
By the way, while I am at it, should I disclose my electoral choices even when reporters, editorial writers, and op-ed writers in the newspapers do not do so? Should a blogger try to meet higher journalistic standards than the traditional media?