authenticity and the baghdad blogger

| 3 Comments | 2 TrackBacks

Paul Boutin does some investigative digging, and comes to the conclusion that Salam Pax's Dear Raed blog is probably for real. Read his analysis here. (Thanks, Joi!)

My gut agrees. And I have pretty good instincts. There are, in fact, a lot of subtle clues that one can use to assess whether a series of writings are authentic. It's not an infallible process, but those of us who spend a large percentage of our time reading (grading papers, reading e-mail, participating in mailing lists, reading blogs, etc) start to develop a good sense. Authentic voice is very hard to fake. It can be done, but it takes a great deal of skillful effort. And there's no evidence that there's an agenda in Salam's writing--what would be the motivation for someone to go through the significant effort involved in creating a believable virtual persona in this context?

So I'm with Paul, but for different reasons.

I got interviewed by a CNET reporter today about warblogging. Apparently, in the national "profnet" system used by reporters to identify professorial experts on topics, I'm linked with blog concepts. Cool. I gave her Salam's URL. And Allison's. And Kevin Sites'. We talked for quite a while, about the voice and personal connections to the net that weblogs enable. Will be interesting to see how that gets shaped into a story--if at all. Will provide a link here if it does go live.

2 TrackBacks

Where is Raed? from Mike's Digital Laboratory on March 24, 2003 11:15 PM

I've started reading Where is Raed? Good medicine to counter the CNN centric media blitz we are all facing every Read More

The concept of WarBlogging from Andrew's ((Future))Log on March 27, 2003 1:36 PM

mamamusings... Read More


I too have been reading Salam for the last few days, having followed the link you put up.

I checked every couple of hours at work today, and was cheered when entries popped up during the day. Yes, s/he is still alive, still OK, still writing. And then silence for a few hours -- now what? I worried.

I suppose the thing most of us are worried about is being tricked into caring, being manipulated by a clever fiction.

But for what reason would anyone do that? To build sympathy for the case against the war; to kill him off in some dramatic way to catalyse an outrage? Because I think Salam has become widely read. Even some of the mainstream news stories offer observations and facts remarkably similar to Salam's recent posts.

But do we reserve our empathy and caring, just in case? I think not.

Looks like the story is up here

Thanks, Anil. I had forgotten to look for it!

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This page contains a single entry published on March 20, 2003 6:13 PM.

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