Damned if you do!

While I’ve made it no secret that I’m a Bob Barr supporter, I often have to wear different hats with regard to politics and political media. These activities include publishing this site, serving as the chair of the Libertarian Party of Alabama as well as the Libertarian State Leadership Alliance. I also serve on the board of several libertarian-oriented activities.

When wearing my ThirdPartyWatch hat, I’ve tried to keep blog postings on this site about Barr either about newsworthy items (i.e. national media attention, announcements), campaign releases (where I apply the same rules I do to other campaigns) and opinion (which I tag as “Opinion” and not “News”). For the most part, I’ll place my opinions and arguments about candidates in the comments section, not as the article itself.

I try to cover issues from a variety of third parties and have covered everything offered to me from any third party presidential candidate who sent me information. It will be a rare day indeed when we (and often me) don’t publish something which may harm the chances for the person I’d most like to see win the Libertarian Party nomination.

While I obtain information from a variety of sources, I mostly depend on Google News alerts and contact with third party presidential campaigns for the material which goes on this site. When I see something that seems newsworthy in the media, I cover it. If a campaign sends me a release, I cover it.

Some campaigns send me frequent or periodic releases (i.e. Root, Barr, Phillies, Nader, Kubby) and they get covered. I’ve requested releases from most of the presidential campaigns (the ones that seem to have a measurable level of support, that is), but some are not sending me information. Some examples of campaigns I’ve requested information from but haven’t received much from are Mary Ruwart’s, Christine Smith’s and Cynthia McKinney’s organizations. Because Cody Quirk and Trent Hill have been covering Constitution Party activity (and Tom Knapp with Steve Kubby), I haven’t been as directly involved with those campaigns—although I do post something about them from time to time.

Currently, I’m taking a lot of criticism and even personal attacks for trying to keep the news flowing on this website. However, I see the role of this site being much longer term than the battle for the Libertarian Party presidential nomination.

Let me make a couple of points clear. Despite the frequent accusations, there is no political censorship of comments on this site. Spam is a persistent problem and if one posts a comment with 17 bazillion links in it, it goes into the spam trap. So do postings which involve viagra, porn queens and free debt consolidation programs. Also, I’m editing titles, but not content (without first obtaining the express permission of the organization submitting a release). A key reason for editing titles is because many releases contain disputable information which is read before any disclaimer of the source of the information.

My goal for ThirdPartyWatch is to provide a wide range of information which is important to the third party world, whether I agree with it or not. Based on some site comments, I’m sure there are plenty of people who would like for me to simply take this site down or only cover their candidate or issue.

No matter what I do on this site, I expect to receive criticism. A few months ago I was being denounced by some Ron Paul supporters for ignoring him on this site while being accused by others of providing too much coverage of him. I’m accused of not carrying enough Green Party information (and I agree; the problem is that I’m having trouble finding enough people to pump up the level of Green Party content). I’m accused of not covering certain candidates, but these are mostly candidates who don’t send me information or return my calls or e-mails in a timely manner (or at all). Other campaigns (i.e. Kubby) have a policy of only releasing information they consider newsworthy.

If you have constructive criticism about how this site could be improved upon, I’m all ears. Or do you think Third Party Watch a waste of time, energy and money that should be shut down?

40 Responses to “Damned if you do!”

  1. Jason Gatties Says:

    I run a rugby/soccer blog and I get emails a lot, complaining that I don’t cover the teams they support. To them I say…start your own damn blog then.

    Same could be said here. If you don’t like the coverage, either go somewhere else to get it or start your own blog.

    I support Mr. Gordon and I enjoy the “new” TPW.

  2. disinter Says:

    You are doing great Stephen… thanks for all the hard work!

  3. disinter Says:

    You need a donate button so we can send you some love.

  4. NewFederalist Says:

    What happened to Austin Cassidy? This site has changed a lot since he put it up. Don’t get me wrong, this is an excellent place for information about alternative parties and candidates but it has become far more contentious than it used to be. Perhaps it is just because we are in an presidential election year but the general tone has become very heavy and everyone seems to take everything so seriously. I say lighten up! Just remember, virtually no one discussed on this site is actually going to WIN an election. If posters actually keep that in mind perhaps going out of one’s way to irritate, aggravate and intimidate others will give way to more intellectual debate. I’m not holding my breath.

  5. disinter Says:

    Just remember, virtually no one discussed on this site is actually going to WIN an election.

    That’s no shit.

  6. The Dylan Says:

    Clearly, Third Party Watch is a valuable resource for those seeking political alternatives and rousing discourse by virtue of the fact that most postings will accumulate a heap of comments in a matter of minutes. Obviously, some of us come here before checking our own damn email!

    I, for one, would like to know more about concurrent Green, Socialist, independent, and other minor party activities but I don’t fault Stephen Gordon in any way for the seeming one-sidedness of TPW. Perhaps, like the talk radio universe, conservatives and libertarians welcome contrary views and fierce scrutiny, while liberals and progressives would rather associate only with liberals and progressives.

    My point is really to say thank you to Stephen Gordon and all the other contributors for making this site a living example of a free market at work. Take what you can use, contribute when you will, and move on.

  7. paulie Says:

    Steve,

    I’m accused of not carrying enough Green Party information (and I agree; the problem is that I’m having trouble finding enough people to pump up the level of Green Party content).

    I’ve offered to cover the Greens here several times.

    See you in Birmingham next weekend, probably. Looking for a place to stay there (or a ride from/to Tuscaloosa) if you know anyone give me a call, or have them give me a call.

    Also, I’d like to interview Barr while I’m there. Will he be available for an interview? If so, I’d welcome question suggestions from everyone here.

    BTW you are doing a great job with this site. I think it is much improved since you took over. I wish you were still posting at LastFreeVoice.com (or would start a new HammerOfTruth type of site already).

    I’m still not 100% decided, but at the moment you are probably also my pick to be re-elected state chair. I understand it will be a very close race.

    -p

  8. disinter Says:

    I, for one, would like to know more about concurrent Green, Socialist, independent, and other minor party activities but I don’t fault Stephen Gordon

    Maybe there is no news coming from those parties at the moment? If there is, are they submitting their “news” to TPW?

  9. disinter Says:

    (or would start a new HammerOfTruth type of site already).

    There is something somewhat similar in the works:

    http://www.freeople.com/

  10. LifeMember Says:

    Screw the complainers, Stephen. They are either 1) Root supporters who have even less couth than a lot of Paul supporters or 2) a bunch of pimply-faced teens with nothing better to do than destroy things when they aren’t busy check out porn.

    They are giving Wayne Allyn Root a bad name. I could see myself supporting either Ruwart or Root as a second choice to Barr, but not if this keeps up.

  11. paulie Says:

    disinter,

    I took a brief look at freeople and don’t see it as a HoT/LFV type of site. Maybe I’m missing something.

    BTW, now that Stuart is not running LFV (or even posting there anytime recently), how about writing there?

  12. Steve LaBianca Says:

    Though we are supporting different candidates for the LP nomination, and though you are privy to more Barr info than, others, I commend you for your work on this site, and hope that my posts are of some value, for some people at least. I know that I value many others’ posts. Thanks again Mr.Gordon. It’s likely we’ll meet again in Denver.

  13. disinter Says:

    I took a brief look at freeople and don’t see it as a HoT/LFV type of site. Maybe I’m missing something.

    Not exactly the same, but similar to what the new HoT was going to be like.

    BTW, now that Stuart is not running LFV (or even posting there anytime recently), how about writing there?

    Umm, I could spread the message to more people by standing on a street corner holding a sign.

  14. Geoffrey the Liberator Says:

    I say “Bravo” amd keep up the good work Master Gordon!

  15. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    “Umm, I could spread the message to more people by standing on a street corner holding a sign.”

    I bet you wouldn’t charge $400k to do so, either.

  16. Lex Says:

    Stephen—You’re doing a great job. If no one is complaining, no one is reading your site! More coverage of parties other than the LP would be a good thing, but you already realize that it appears.

    I suspect the civility will return somewhat after the LP convention, and a candidate being selected.

    Standing on a street corner waving a sign? I tried that for Ron Paul—it didn’t seem to work. People think you’re a kook and tune you out. A 10-million-dollar or so national TV ad campaign might have a lot more effective. Hopefully the LP candidate can raise ten or twenty million and learn from the mistakes of the Paul campaign.

  17. Lex Says:

    What ever happened to Hammer of Truth? I wish they had kept it up in the old format, while working out the issues with the new format. Car companies don’t shut down the factory while they’re working on a new model.

  18. disinter Says:

    What ever happened to Hammer of Truth?

    The only one that knows:

    [email protected]

  19. Eric Dondero Says:

    Expected Libertarian Presidential candidate Bob Barr on “Libertarian Politics Live” tonight

    Former Congressman Bob Barr of Georgia will be a guest on “Libertarian Politics Live” tonight. The expected Libertarian candidate for President will be discussing the Fair Tax on this day before the Income Tax deadline. He’ll also be discussing foreign policy and other issues, as well as giving an update on his Presidential campaign exploratory committee.

    Listen in at 7:00 pm cst at www.blogtalkradio.com/libertarian.

    Eric Dondero from Houston will be Hosting, and Co-Hosting will be Andre Traversa of Chicago.

  20. disinter Says:

    Oh good lord Barr is acknowledging the existence of this creep? Ok, I’m back to rooting for… Root.

  21. Stewart Flood Says:

    Anything worth doing is worth doing well. Keep up the good work.

  22. Trent Hill Says:

    Stephen,

    You’re doing a GREAT job. Really.
    Im not going to say your doing better than Austin—becuase both of you have done great—but please dont shut this site down.

  23. Laura Says:

    TPW has become one of my favorite sites. Good job Stephen!

  24. Michael Seebeck Says:

    No worries here, I think SG does a fine job, especially since he has so many other irons in the fire. Thanks, Stephen, for providing us all such a useful and valuable service!

  25. Bill Wood Says:

    This is always the first website I visit when I turn on the puter. Thank you SG for maintaining TPW, this is the best place to read Libertarian news.

  26. Dave Williams Says:

    Shit, when I joined the LP, they directed me here for LP news…and I love it. I read everything, even Bill Blairs Nazi thread posts…

    Gordon do not shutdown this site…Yank kicks ass!

  27. Dave Williams Says:
    1. LifeMember Says:
      April 14th, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    Screw the complainers, Stephen. They are either 1) Root supporters who have even less couth than a lot of Paul supporters or 2) a bunch of pimply-faced teens with nothing better to do than destroy things when they aren’t busy check out porn.

    They are giving Wayne Allyn Root a bad name. I could see myself supporting either Ruwart or Root as a second choice to Barr, but not if this keeps up.

    Dude, how outta touch can a person be? Root gets shitloads of coverage…no complaints from the WAR supporters…

    And why would the RP revolt need this site anyway? RON PAUL IS NOT IN A THIRD PARTY!

  28. Dave Williams Says:
    1. disinter Says:
      April 14th, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    Oh good lord Barr is acknowledging the existence of this creep? Ok, I’m back to rooting for… Root.

    Flip flopper…haha

  29. Dave Williams Says:
    1. Laura Says:
      April 14th, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    TPW has become one of my favorite sites. Good job Stephen!

    Dude, even chix dig it!

  30. Catholic Trotskyist Says:

    I realize that most people here including you disagree with my views, but I think you’re doing a great job and I appreciate the open posting environment here.

  31. Steve Newton Says:

    There are blogs I check once a week, blogs I check every few days, blogs I check once a day, and blogs I check every time I fire up the computer.

    TPW is in the latter category; in another age the word would have been “indispensable.”

    Your material (always with attribution) often finds its way into Delaware Libertarian, and thus out to people who otherwise might not know about the broader options they have.

  32. Dave Williams Says:
    1. Catholic Trotskyist Says:
      April 14th, 2008 at 8:10 pm

    I realize that most people here including you disagree with my views, but I think you’re doing a great job and I appreciate the open posting environment here.

    Dude, even this misguided soul digs it!

  33. Angela Keaton Says:

    Steve,

    Don’t be so down on yourself. You were responsible for at least two blog happy days in my life. One was when I came back from a trip in Jan of 06 and found that post you wrote about Starchild, (the now late) Terry Liberty Parker and me on HOT. The other was the day you left LPHQ and chaos reigned on LFV.

    This was my contribution to the best thread ever:

    June 18th, 2007 at 2:44 pm

    Paulie, LFV is awesome but this is the first thread where it really felt like HOT (Hammer of Truth). It’s got the most excellent elements: the return of Flash Gordon, Phillies bitching about that Parsley kid’s ages old post which no one would have read until Cory pointed it out to everyone, Cory admitting he wants to stab most of the membership with forks, Hogarth demanding to know the color of said forks, Sundwall pointing how full of shit everyone is in three paragraphs.

    This thread however lacks the following:
    1.) Benedict pointing out how full of shit everyone is in two paragraphs.
    2.) Knapp pointing out how full of shit everyone is in five paragraphs.
    3.) Milsted’s ramblings on EST Seminar-Dancing Wu Li Master-String Theory-Universal Oneness of Eckankar and environmentally safe oven cleaning.
    4.) Blanton admitting he hates nearly everyone.
    5.) West arising from a post chemo nap to hate everyone Blanton left off said list.
    6.) Dondero pointing out the libertarian tendancies of Roy Cohn, Bob Dornan and Andrea Yates.
    7.) A riveting face off between Holtz and Noval over whether our use of Times New Roman font for Bylaw Committee is alienating ex-Republican men between the ages of 31 and 63.
    8.) Dondero providing a breathtaking catalog of places he’s parked his prick.

    Of course, it is only 5:40 Eastern.

    http://lastfreevoice.wordpress.com/2007/06/17/latest-libertymix-news-61707/

    On another note, if Yank the assman is our there, write me. I got what you need.

  34. Eric Dondero Says:

    Here’s a novel idea:

    There is a way for this blog to be improved.

    Keep on doing, more of what you have been doing.

  35. Eric Dondero Says:

    Angela, you owe me an exclusive lap dancing for those wisecracks.

    Next time in LA, tell your hubby you have a “date”.

  36. Angela Keaton Says:

    Eric,

    It isn’t what I will have to do for you I’m afraid of, it’s what I will have to do for Dr. Carl. You never know with those new agey types.

  37. Ken Says:

    Stephen you know I work on behalf of the Michael Jingozian for Presisent team and I know you are a Barr supporter. On behalf of our campaign I’d like to commend your fairness and objectivity. This is fast becoming the place to come for all Independent News. On behalf of www.resetamerica.com and Michael Jingozian for President our thanks!

  38. Joseph O Says:

    Stephen, I think you’re doing a good job. If we could just get half of these people who do cyber politics to step out of their comfort zone and actually get on the ballot for public office where the mainstream media and elected officials have to acknowledge you - then we may make some real waves.

    Congrats to those who have including the several presidential candidates that you cover. But consider that anyone on the ballot for congress or their state house can really make a better local impression, get covered in the local papers and engage directly with voters. This is where real democracy starts: feet on the street. I will lead by example and run for congress again this year. How about YOU!

  39. No Longer a Reform Party Member Says:

    [email protected]:

    This site survived in spite of, not because of, Austin Cassidy.

    Massive improvement under SG.

    Sacramento, been every thing, done every thing, Philip Sawyer has been available FOR YEARS and ignored by TPW for as long, concerning non Libertarian and non Conservative postings.

    Many Libertarian and or Conservative posters, such as Cody Quirk, are blatantly skewed and or subjective, eroding confidence on the factual content of their offerings.

    Again, head and shoulders above it’s former incantation.

  40. Dave Williams Says:

    “On another note, if Yank the assman is our there, write me. I got what you need.”

    Ummm…I’m not Yank, but I have a deep desire to be like him. My number is 666-DAMN!

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