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All Dressed Up and No Place to Go: North County News Throws in the Towel

November 4, 2007

Ever since The North County News set up a blog with the avowed purpose of taking readers away from Crotonblog, we have been looking back over our collective shoulders at this upstart. Calling itself The Blog Cabin, a name more appropriate for the organization of Gay Republicans, it has been so far behind Crotonblog the simile “eating our dust” could hardly be applied.

In creating this mean-spirited blog, The North County News wrote that “in addition to our backyard of Yorktown, we instinctively knew the second logical community to use as a cornerstone is Croton.” Sounding more like a pompous Fourth of July oration, The North County News also wrote, “The good people of Croton are in dire need of a virtual gathering place that respects the democratic diversity of opinion and the baseline integrity of full disclosure, namely, posters not afraid to sign comments with their full legal identity.”

The newspaper and its blog then proceeded to attack Crotonblog for allowing anonymous comments, a time-honored practice with a history going back to the anonymous Federalist Papers and even earlier. The authors of the Federalist Papers later were revealed to be Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and Westchester’s own John Jay, all founding fathers of our democracy.

Crotonblog became so tired of these snide attacks on our tolerance of blogging anonymity, we began to read The North County News carefully and catalog its errors. Only after we published a slew of its serious errors of fact, history and geography with the suggestion that the newspaper’s editor would be better advised to tend to his knitting and concentrate on newspaper publishing, did the attacks cease.

It is no tribute to that newspaper’s journalistic “instincts” to reveal that their “Yorktown blog” attracted the less-than-astronomical number of only two user comments since its inception in April of this year. During the same period The North County News’s imitative competitor of Crotonblog attracted 330 comments. The only problem with that statistic is that almost all 330 comments were made by the same half-dozen people, making it look like the product of an inbred West Virginia community.

As such, The North County News’s blog turned out to be a blog that simply did not invite reading by readers it made to feel like outsiders. On several occasions it was out of commission for long periods. When it resumed, there was never an explanation for its protracted disappearance. Its postings largely consisted of comments by what Crotonblog dubbed “The Usual Suspects”—the sorehead acolytes of Maria Cudequest’s breakaway sect—who took up space in the blog cabin exchanging congratulatory notes with one another. Ms. Cudequest’s specialty was posting warnings about imminent disasters. Her most recent mock public service announcement was a posting about yesterday’s Noel storm that never struck this area.

From time to time, we would peek into the blog cabin to see what contributors were saying about Crotonblog. Very often we were surprised to discover that no postings of any kind had been made. In fact, we began a compilation of statistics on its nonuse that we kept in a folder titled “The Empty Blog Cabin.” We won’t bore you with a blow-by-blow recitation of those dismal statistics, but readers can get an idea of the extent of the disuse when we point out that no postings were made during half the days in the months of July, August and September. Therefore, we cannot express surprise at the announcement today by Bruce Apar, publisher of The North County News, that The Blog Cabin would be closed down at the end of November.

The news that a traditional newspaper is suspending publication should always be a reason for sadness and a feeling of loss. However, the announcement that this mean-spirited blog with its imprudent, ill-conceived raison d’etre is closing should come as welcome news. Its impending shutdown represents a victory for the principles of privacy and anonymity.

On November 5, 2007 6:15 PM, Mrs. Smith said:

Interestingly enough, the new forum that the NCN is touting is called North County News Forum and although you must register with an email address, it appears that you can post anonymously!!! - The only posts there are posted under a pseudonym and the list of registered users appears to be an international convention. I wonder how many of the 4 or 5 current posters to the blogcabin will swallow their indignation over anonymous posting and use this new forum?



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