Don Rogers: The Kool-Aid test
October 7, 2008
The Democrats and some of the folks in my political twilight zone, the mushy middle, worry much too much about Eagle County Times Dot Com.
I know I should be pretty exercised at Avon gadfly Peter Buckley, too. The husband of Republican commissioner candidate Debbie Buckley delights in poking at my paper’s sundry sins, in addition to tormenting leaders of a certain ideological bent.
But don’t tell anyone: I often get a kick out of the site, especially when it’s lampooning us.
I find Peter zealous and wacky, a rumor monger when he’s not making stuff up himself, and sometimes pretty clever.
He’s not as clever as David O. Williams at RealVail.com when David O. puts the Vail Daily in his sights. Williams, an actual journalist, has a better grasp of the language and is far more disciplined. Peter is a straightforward ideologue, a blunter tool; you know the type.
Funny, I see the Eagle County Times Web site in remarkably the same light as Peter himself, word for word, thought for thought. We have to dance around a little here because the site strictly is the product of anonymity for whatever mysterious reason, and Peter plays coy when asked about it.
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The site attacks the Daily regularly, generally for the crime of being too “liberal.” Ouch! Occasionally there is information in there that we indeed should check out. I view it much in the same way I saw Michael Cacioppo’s Speakout while it was published, and I consider Peter a disciple of Michael. Speakout was wider read, and generally funnier, but the drive behind the two is familiar.
A few local politicos are in quite a froth about the Eagle County Times, which I don’t quite understand. Basically, they see Debbie Buckley having an unfair leg up against Democrat Jon Stavney in their county commissioner race. And because the site obviously favors Republicans, they see Dick Gustafson promoted and incumbent Commissioner Peter Runyon unfairly criticized. Apparently that’s a surprise.
I’ve been asked several times to “expose” the site. No problem, but letters to the editor have a far wider readership and effect than this Web site. What’s the big deal, really?
I check it fairly regularly because I see that as part of my job. I might find story ideas there, after all. Another viewer will likely tire of it quickly unless oh so fascinated with local politics seen in a conservative cheerleading light. And a few are, certainly.
There’s little danger of the public at large failing to recognize the site for what it is, though. No one is going to change their vote after a visit.
If you are prone to Peter’s Kool-Aid, you’ll no doubt be heartened to see your suspicions expressed. If you are drinking the blue Kool-Aid, maybe you’ll be outraged. If you’ve had enough Kool-Aid, the site will only help further your understanding that too much Kool-Aid – whatever the hue ” isn’t very healthy.
But it’s not going to kill anyone, either.
None of the county commissioner candidates will see their fortunes rise or fall because of an amateur site that comes at local issues and candidates from the right. The critics should stop whining about it, frankly.
Or, what the heck, start up a site dedicated to telling the story solely from the left. I can just see Peter joking that they have one of those and it’s called the Vail Daily. Ouch, again.
But we can’t be counted on by either set of partisans, straying as we do over each side of the ideological divide.
I recommend RealVail if you need your reliably blue fix. Like Peter, David O. drinks his Kool-Aid by the gallon.
Don Rogers is the editor and associate publisher of the Vail Daily, Vail Trail and Eagle Valley Enterprise. He can be reached at 748-2920 or email@example.com. He welcomes your comments.