Great Falls Tribune “outs” Bowen Greenwood/NeoMadison

by Jay Stevens 

Gwen Florio wrote a story on the “outing” of Bowen Greenwood, who posts on “What’s Right” as blogger NeoMadison. Recently, Bowen revealed his identity publicly on a WRIM post, which was met by some thoughtful comments. (And many not-so-thoughtful ones, as well.)

Florio’s piece was actually very fair to both Greenwood and the whiff of ethical impropriety surrounding the issue. Wulfgar! (known to the traditional media as Rob Kailey) summed it all up brilliantly:

“Trust me on this, Bowen,” he wrote. “Someone is going through the archives of this blog, as well as comments you’ve left elsewhere, searching for something to pin on you or your boss,” he said.

In a telephone interview Friday, Kailey expanded on those concerns.

Even though Greenwood is blogging on his own time, “it offers the appearance of impropriety,” he said, pointing out that the Secretary of State’s Office, which oversees elections, is nonpartisan.

“I really think he would have done a great service to his employer, to himself and to the Montana blogosphere if he had just come clean from the get-go,” Kailey said.

Another concern that I had with the whole issue was that blogging relies almost completely on the trust that readers have that the bloggers they read are venting their personal opinions, not dutifully regurgitating spin for a politician or interest group under the guise of an individual citizen. But an anonymous blogger – like NeoMadison before the outing – could be anybody. We don’t know. That’s why I think it’s important to disclose any political or professional information that might call into question the blogger’s motives.

Ultimately, I don’t care who blogs. In fact, the more people that blog, the better. I think government workers should blog if they want to. I think politicians should blog if they want to. But in the end, when a reader needs information to judge the accuracy or validity of the blogger’s opinion, every pertinent detail should be disclosed.

In NeoMadison’s case, little fuss was raised around the blogosphere for one simple fact: it was obvious his posts were well thought out and specific to him. Of all the bloggers on “What’s Right,” NeoMadison is the only one who can claim this, and the only one who might have dodged a full blogo-sh*t storm. As for the other WRIM anonymous bloggers…well…it wouldn’t surprise me if any of them had either personal or professional connections to campaign staffs or political organizations.

Of course, it’s easy to say that about anonymous bloggers…

  1. Much ado about nothing.

    When NEO changed jobs, he asked me if he should disclose it, and I told him it wasn’t all that important. Why?

    Because (1) 99% of Montanans don’t read blogs

    (2) There’s no money changing hands

    (3) The blogsphere is not a traditional form of

    (4) I allow anonymous comments, and just like
    other blogs, teammembers can be anonymous.

  2. Jen. That Jen.

    I just hope that Neo’s posts weren’t made during business hours on days he didn’t take annual or sick leave from the office.

    Because if they were, that means that he was on the State’s dime – my dime – when he was posting.

    Regardless, this is the smallest issue that will kill BJ in the ’08 race for Sec. State. Trust me.

  3. OK...

    I “discovered” Neo’s identity months ago. When I e-mailed him at work to see if my hunch was right I got a very brief message from a personal email address (read: not a state-owned account), which he sent from his personal cellular phone while on lunch break. In it, he acknowledged that he was indeed NeoMadison, and he also said he wouldn’t e-mail or respond to posts for NeoMadison his state e-mail account or on state time. He specifically pointed out that he was very careful to avoid any possible appearance that he was blogging on the state’s dime. I believe him.

    Give the guy a break. Just because you don’t like his politics doesn’t mean you have to insinuate he’s breaking the law or wasting taxpayer money. For crying out loud, when J.P. Pendleton came out with his ode to Jon Tester following the election you guys were all drooling over how civil and gracious and wonderful his comments were. Civility has a time limit apparently.

    Some of you are no doubt going to waste your time digging for some scrap of evidence that proves Bowen Greenwood blogged from the office. You might even find some, who knows. Hot Damn! Now there’s a scandal! Go get ‘em!

    On second thought, maybe we should move along. I suspect ya’ll won’t, though…

  4. Um…if you follow the links, you’ll see it was Gwen Florio who started this post about NeoMadison. Apparently she thought the issue warranted more examination.

    Personally, I could care less what side of the political aisle NeoMadison was on, it pays to be upfront from the beginning. To his credit, he’s no longer an anonymous blogger. Now only if he would blog at his own site…

  5. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers!

    I like reading Neo’s posts. They’re usually very well-written. But I don’t believe in anonymity. It’ll get ya in trouble every time. It’s much better to state who you really are, and cut to the chase. That’s why I always use my real name and the title of my group. I am an extreme radical enviro. That’s who I am. If someone doesn’t like that, to hell with them! Hell, I’ve had many slimeballs write anonymous stuff to my employer accusing me of everything except child molestation. And guess what. I’M STILL EMPLOYED! Ya see, ya just gotta be yourself and let the chips fall where they may. If all of society lived by this rule, we’d be much better off. I have MUCH greater respect for the poster who uses their real name. I understand Neo’s situation. But hell, my advice to him would be, if ya get fired for what you believe, GET ANOTHER JOB!

  6. OK...

    Jay, it wasn’t you I was referring to so much as some of the comments (Rob’s) and other innuendos (Jens) posted here and printed elsewhere.

  7. Oops, sorry! I’m so sensitive lately. Maybe it’s all the hate mail I’m getting from Dondero’s pals.

  8. Jen.That Jen

    OK …
    – no innuendo. If anyone thinks for a moment that his post times won’t be examined, they’re wrong. I haven’t the time nor the inclination, but someone will.
    I was only pointing out that this appearance of possible impropriety is going to be the least of BJ’s problems, that’s all. Pretty clear.

  9. OK … you are an ignorant tool. You will not be able to find one comment of mine tasking Bowen because he blogged or commented from work. The scandal, to the degree that there is one, is that he wrote accusatory and patently offensive things about the very voters who pay him, and more to the point, those who rely on his boss’s good judgement to work for us. At no point, until he had already been outed by those of us who knew, did he bother to declare that his opinions were his alone and not affiliated with the office for which he is the paid spokesperson. Even his supposed ‘self-outing’ was little more than an arrogant insult to those he doesn’t agree with. And yeah, kitten, that does reflect poorly on the man he represents.

    JP has never been anything except polite, engaging and thoughtful, on his blog or commenting at others. Can you say the same about Greenwood, at either WWiM or at Election Daze? Whoops, perhaps you could if Greenwood hadn’t have scrubbed the archives at ED. Why is that, do you suppose?

    And before you accuse others of what you and Bowen commit, I would also like to point out the disgusting and blatent hypocricy involved in his posting at a website that has taken myself and others to task simply because we work in an environment that is tangentally related to government. So don’t tell me to lay off Bowen Greenwood. I have all the evidence I need to think Bowen a coward, and unworthy of the money that the state pays him.

    You can’t deal with the real issues, so you try and paint us in a bad light instead. Bowen claims that we’re stupid for not having seen through his charade, even though many of us did. And now you claim we’re stupid for recognizing that he’s being and been a jerk about the whole thing. Wrongo. I for one am not buying the line of crap from you or from him. If you think I’m in the wrong because Bowen didn’t do the obviously correct and honest thing, well then, cupcake, feel free to kiss my a$$.

  10. And Eric, I’ve told you before: You’re not as important as you think you are. That’s been proven to me, over the last week, in spades. That you think you can or did control Bowen’s actions lables you as one really stupid git. If Bowen actually listened to you, then he’s even more stupid … just what I would want working for me, if I were BJ …

  11. Exactly when did I say I was important?

    I’m the one who says nobody reads the blogs anyway, remember?

    So I like kicking sand in your face.

    It’s what I do.

    Get over it.

  12. Sweet mother of Troy, Eric…when you stop playing this “when did I say I was important” card? When you go around with your “liberals are scared of me!” and “liberals fear the mention of my name/our blog!” crap, that strikes me as a bit self-important.

  13. OK...


    Mole hills turning into mountains. I didn’t say or insinuate any of the things you accuse me of the in last post.

    “You can’t deal with the real issues, so you try and paint us in a bad light instead.”

    -Nope, just think there’s far more important issues to squel about.

    “And now you claim we’re stupid for recognizing that he’s being and been a jerk about the whole thing.”

    -Didn’t claim anyone was stupid, Wulfgar!.

    Bowen/NeoMadison is irrelevant. Period. Do yourself a favor and don’t take everything so personally. And lay off the tiresome playground name-calling. I keep hearing how you have a sharp mind and that you’re bright thinker. Show it for a change. Not everyone who disagrees with you lines up with Eric, Neo and the rest of WRIM crowd. Just relax. Democracy in Montana faces greater threats than Bowen Greenwood.

  14. Hmmm, let’s go to the tape on that:

    Anonymity? Check
    Condescending air of authority (while maintaining anonymity)? Check
    Construction of a straw man? Check
    Baseless accusations of over-reaction and hypocricy? Check
    Ignorant of the facts at hand (while hoping that others are as well)? Check
    Backing off and calling for “civility” when actually challenged? Check
    Personal insults masquerading as helpful hints? Check (That’s called ‘concern trolling, and trust me, by now I’m very used to it.)
    Claiming that the issue isn’t *really* that important anyway, so there!? Check

    Now remind me again how that doesn’t line up with Eric, Neo/Bowen and the WRiM crowd.

  1. 1 Montana Netroots » Blog Archive » No Such Thing As Bad Publicity Brad?

    […] Any of you who read Jay’s post know that the Gwen Florio picked wrote a story on the outing of Brad Johnson’s spokesman Bowen Greenwood as NeoMadison from that site whose name I won’t mention. Jay covered it well and you see, I agree with Mr Johnson here that it is Bowen’s right as long as he plays by the rules. […]

  2. 2 On the Death of Political Media | Intelligent Discontent

    […] incidents is laughable, it’s that back in 2006, Johnson’s own chief of staff Bowen Greenwood said it wasn’t a problem here in […]

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