UPDATED: Mudflats anonymous no more

Craig MedredAlaska Dispatch

Doogan writes: "The identity of the person who writes the liberal Democratic Mudflats blog has been secret since the blog began, protected by the Anchorage Daily News, among others. My own theory about the public process is you can say what you want, as long as you are willing to stand behind it using your real name. So I was interested to learn that the woman who writes the blog is Anchorage resident Jeanne Devon."

In an interview with Alaska Dispatch, Doogan said that from his point of view, as soon as she began to influence public policy she gave up her right to remain anonymous. "If this was a group of people sitting around the living room, relentlessly attacking public figures, that would be one thing. But she's been doing that on the Internet--which goes everywhere--for the better part of the year, and she's allowed to do that anonomously? Where's the benefit of that to our state or our country?"

Devon, who says her name is actually Jeanne Chilton,(who went by Jeanne Chilton Devon in a 2007 letter to the Anchorage Daily News) writes a long piece today about why she stayed anonymous and takes shots at Doogan for unmasking her.

Chilton writes on Mudflats:

So, now, if you look on the About page, you'll get to see my real name (which Rep. Doogan almost got right). And you also get to learn that the rules of the game are whatever Rep. Doogan's "theory of public process" say they should be. How does everyone feel about that?

And here's another irony. Rep. Doogan thinks he has exposed me, but in reality he has done nothing but expose himself.

And with that, Mudflatters, I need to take a little time off to assess things, and take stock of how life will be changing for me and my family."

And here is more from Chilton on her blog about Doogan's surprise move today:

But sometimes politicians don't like people who express their opinions, especially when the opinion is less than flattering, and especially when it's their own words that come back to bite them.  Mudflatters may recall back in December when Rep. Mike Doogan really got under my skin.  I had posted previously about Mr. Doogan by posting his reaction to the Palin nomination, promoting his appearance on a local radio show, and talking about the certainty of his reelection.  But I don't always agree with him. The post where I took him to task was entitled  "Are You People Nuts? Lessons in Email Etiquette."


If I were to appear, as many of you have, at a political rally and I were to hold up a sign that expressed my opinion, I don't have to sign my name on the bottom.  And if someone wants to come online and read my diary, they are free to do so.  And if they want to disagree, that's OK too.

It says in my "About" page that I choose to remain anonymous.  I didn't tell anyone why.  I might be a state employee.  I might not want my children to get grief at school.  I might be fleeing from an ex-partner who was abusive and would rather he not know where I am.  My family might not want to talk to me anymore.  I might alienate my best friend.  Maybe I don't feel like having a brick thrown through my window.  My spouse might work for the Palin administration.  Maybe I'd just rather people not know where I live or where I work.  Or none of those things may be true.  None of my readers, nor Mike Doogan had any idea what my personal circumstances might be.  But that didn't seem to matter.

What appears to matter to Rep. Doogan is that either 1) he feels that if he "outs" me, he'll change what I have to say, or keep me from saying anything. 2) he gets to play mystery detective (like in his books) and believes people will think he's really cool for figuring it out, or 3) he feels like getting revenge.  He knows I want to remain anonymous, so he's going to take it away.  In any of those three scenarios, he didn't think it was important to get the bigger picture.

Doogan did admit that her post about him got him curious about who she was, but denied that revealing her name had anything to do with revenge. "I just don't see how the entirely liberal and mostly Outside audience of hers is going to have some effect on what I do," he said. "And I don't consider revealing one of the state's leading political activists an act of revenge."

The issue of anonymity--particularly that of Mudflats'--was brought up last night at a forum about blogging sponsored by the Alaska Press Club, which the Alaska Dispatch sat on. Shannyn Moore, who has her own blog and also writes for The Huffington Post, and who is a friend of Chilton, vigorously defended Mudflats' right to anonymity. It was pointed out to her by Dispatch editor Amanda Coyne, however, that if Chilton was a strident Republican who was attacking a politician who Moore supported, Moore would probably do everything she could to reveal that person's identity.

The interesting thing about today's turn of events is that Doogan, a former newspaper columnist, is a Democrat. And that isn't lost on Moore and others.

"Frankly, I would expect this from (Palin flacks) Meg Stapeton or Bill McCallister, but not someone who claims to be a progressive," Moore writes on her blog, Shannyn Moore: Just a Girl From Homer.