CINCINNATI (TDB) -- There's little question that Buckeye State Blog has a national reputation as the most influential and important Democratic voice in the Ohiosphere. Now there's an ugly allegation that falsified readership data was posted online by BSB last year in an effort to boost its significance and denigrate As Ohio Goes, another progressive blog based in Ohio.
Some might be tempted to write the tempest off as pointless. Who cares if a blog inflates its readership with bogus numbers? But the truth is, honesty is an important quality. It is about character. It is about not cheating. It is about not being corrupt. It is about not being a deceiver or a fraud. It is about not saying one thing and hiding another. It is about not being a political voice who points out the ethical flaws in others while dismissing one's own. It is about not practicing what one preaches. It's about not being part and parcel of the truth-stretching political crowd.
This is what appeared in a comment from a BSB founder last year:
""Submitted by staff on Thu, 08/03/2006 - 9:03pm.
I think we are done. Enjoy hickman and whacky andy.
ps - thats 1 million visitors, not views - i have over 3 million views. Keep dreamin'"
But this week the claim of one million visitors and over three million views has been described as a falsehood by Ohio Democratic political consultant Paul Ackerman, a BSB insider who has been booted after a falling out with the blog's administrator. A disagreement about the vacancy in Ohio's 5th Congressional District escalated into rancor. It started over a minor point -- a discussion about who might be among the likely candidates to succeed Republican Paul Gillmor, who died earlier this week after falling down the stairs in his suburban Washington apartment.
As things grew more heated, Ackerman wrote:
"And as for Russell? Yes, he did lie about statistics on BSB. The thread where he bragged about hitting 1 million visitors and 3 million views is here. [Ed Note: It appears above]. At the time he posted that, I still had full access to the sitemeter account that I had created for this place and I knew it was complete bullshit. I must admit I wasn't all that concerned at the time, and when in a private moment I mentioned it to him, he laughed and said something like it made BSB look better. No surprise that he changed the password to the sitemeter account right after that."
Ackerman's post is troubling. He says BSB published the false claim about its statistics during the same point in time when Ohio Democrats, and the blog, were actively denouncing the culture of corruption that led to Tom Noe and the BWC scandal. Did the blog have its own culture of corruption?
I sincerely hope that there were no falsehoods about statistics, no inflated numbers, no disgrace or fall from grace. But the episode -- from what is known so far -- appears distressing at least, dishonest at most. Was somebody in the Ohiosphere so ethically challenged they could utter an untrue statement and think nothing of it at all? In other words, does lying come that easy? And one more question: Aren't Democrats supposed to be better than that?