The News Journal is getting beat up on its website over the Jeff Bergosh/Godzilla story. There are three issues here:
- Should those who post to pnj.com have a right to privacy?
- Should an elected official use false names to promote himself and his political views on a blog or forum?
- Should an elected official lie about it when caught?
The first question is one that is being debated by newspapers all over the country. Newspapers require authors of letters to the editor to disclose who they are, but in the race to gather hits for their websites, few require web comments to have the real name of the author. Eventually I believe all bloggers will be require to use their real names on newspaper sites.
The second and third questions are more about the character of the elected official. Jeff Bergosh was elected to the Escambia County School Board to represent his district. We expect him to speak out on issues and make decisions for the good of the public school district. Why did he hide under a false name? He can issue press releases and write viewpoints to newspapers on any issue he likes.
Worse, why not admit about it to the media? And to compound the issue, Godzilla/Bergosh is still posting on pnj.com. This is ridiculous. Almost reminds one of the Vanette Webb and Hal Mason days, but at least they used their real names.
NOTE: I just received a phone call from Jeff Bergosh. He says there is more to the story and he will come on my radio show today – 1:15 pm – NewsRadio 1620 to give his side. He denies lying to the media, and promises to give us all the details.