Welcome to the first part in a series of posts regarding who the people are that you read in the northern Nevada blogosphere (a word I hate, by the way). Knowing who other bloggers and commenters are just makes the community stronger, so I’ve decided to profile them as I come across information that might be of interest. We’ll start today with one of my all-time favorite bloggers, and someone with whom I’ve developed quite a connection. It’s not often you get an opportunity for this type of connection to be made, but this blogger made sure it would last a long time.
Personality #1 – NVUpNorth
NVUpNorth, or “upnorth” when he’s feeling especially presumptive, is not his real name. Sorry to disappoint, because I know all of you have gotten to know his YouTube videos and Richardson love well under that name, but unfortunately, that’s not who he really is.
Ross Edward Armstrong, recent UNR Economics graduate is one ambitious cat.
Let’s start with the back story. Ross doesn’t seem to like people whose jobs include reporting on politics. He often questions their journalistic skills and integrity. Of course, later we actually get a taste of what he thinks blogging should be. Not to go all “Grad School Journalism” on the poor guy, but with the exception of two of his examples (and one of those is questionable), it’s just regular reporting, only faster and online. How cutting edge. The example that gets serious credit there is his about Kos. Downtown Makeover is close, but ultimately, it’s a basic journalistic function to hold government accountable. So I only give that one half credit.
Because of Ross’ propensity for media criticism, I tended to call him out on the issue of how things could be done better. If you’ve paid any attention at all to how I feel about blogs, you’ll see that even when he finally let on to his ideas, he was woefully behind the current thinking. It’s okay, though. He just turned 22 on Sunday. Exactly ten years and one week behind me in experience and, obviously, knowledge.
My tendency to call Ross out led to him lashing back in a most unwelcome manner. He took the time to play sockpuppet (the ninth comment) in an attempt to call me out on his own blog. Ultimately, however, his all-out attempt to shut me down came to a head on another site entirely when Ross came right out and said that I hadn’t voted in general elections the past however many years. Two things were wrong with the statement. One was laughably funny, the other was completely reprehensible. First, he was wrong. He went out on a limb to shut me down and was so wrong that I didn’t even get it. Second, he used his position within the Democratic Party to gather the information.
Let me make sure everyone understands that. Ross Edward Armstrong held a position within the Washoe County Democratic Party and used their voter rolls to find information on me and try to shut me down with it. The information is public, to be sure, but that’s not how he got it. He didn’t go down to the county registrar’s office and request it (which would have required more personal information than just my name, by the way). He went to his position at the Ministry of Truth, or wherever, and looked me up using information that is available to the Party for the purposes of canvassing, recruiting, etc. It’s equivalent to if I had used my position at the bank (when I worked there) to call out someone I didn’t like online. I would have had access to the person’s address as well. That’s the part that will make someone nervous. In fact, it did make me nervous. How many times did Ross drive by my house in the hopes of catching a glimpse? Only he knows.
Well, in a classic tit for tat, I figured I’d divulge information that truly is “public.”
Based on a tip (wow, Ross would love this use of blogging) I was able to find out a lot about Ross. First, as you might be able to tell from the above photo (the one where he’s wearing a brown shirt—heh), he’s a Boy Scout. But not just any scout, he’s legit. He’s an Eagle Scout. In fact, the bio on that page even has this classic line:
“He is a shining example of what Scouting and the Order of the Arrow stand for.”
I suppose he is if the Order of the Arrow stands for anonymous attacks on supposed opponents and attempting to shut down the speech of someone you don’t like. I’m sure the Boy Scouts would be very proud to have such a person in their ranks.
I will give him this, though. He is active. Nice touch creating the petition then not signing it until third. Veeeeerrrrrry clever. And the defense of Derby is always good, too. I mean, she did only lose by a solid 5%. It’s almost as if he’s learning from lawyers on how to spin stuff. Oh wait, he is!
Now I know. Maybe I should cut Ross a little slack. He’s just a dumb kid who made a mistake and came clean. In fact, plenty of you had his back in the process. “He’s young, and he’ll make mistakes. It was big of him to admit it.” Blah blah blah. Here is a snippet from a post that I wrote but never published at the time:
Smart people don’t do things like he did. They don’t slap the very ideals and system in which they put so much faith right in the face.
The apology also made a point of mentioning it was a “personal attack” and based on inaccurate information. That certainly shaped the subsequent discussion—the wrong way. As a result, UpNorth now has a thread full of comments calling what he did a mistake attributed to immaturity and youth (and of course they mentioned that he corrected that mistake by apologizing) and even calling it an impulsive act (sorry, impulsive acts don’t take place over a couple of days and come with smart-ass apologies which continue to attempt to denigrate the person originally attacked even further). Some people were even asking him to continue blogging. And what bothered me the most was that I saw the focus on the fact that what he said about me was incorrect. Nobody seemed willing to even entertain the possibility that it was an attempt by someone who works for a political party to keep me—a journalist and blogger—out of the conversation by discrediting me. You can bet your ass that UpNorth himself and the same commenters he has apologizing for him right now would be screaming to high heaven if it had been a young, immature Republican who had pulled the same stunt.
That’s right. Our very own Ross Edward Armstrong is planning a run for Congress. Now, I’m certainly not an expert in this field—yet—but I kind of figure that if one is planning a run for Congress, one might want to avoid something that could easily be spun as a violation of the First Amendment. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not someone to run around claiming First Amendment violations by corporations, individuals, and anything else that’s non-governmental. But a guy planning a run for Congress!?!? Yeah, I think that qualifies. It’s a good bet that if, in fact, young Ross runs, I’ll be keeping my eye on him. I do live in his district, but Ross already knows that.
One thing I definitely want to make sure everyone understands is that I know some of you will not give a crap that this guy pulled this a few months ago. He’s one of you, right? He’s working to get Democrats elected, and that’s more important than anything. Hell, I might even be acting totally melodramatic here. But I was wronged. By a guy who plans to run for Congress and currently (still) holds some position in the Democratic Party. I’m pretty sure that’s something that should be pointed out. So here it was.
Also, isn’t this a shame?
Now, on a somewhat happier note, another Internet personality will be featured soon. Keep it tuned right here for all the latest on my next subject. It’ll be a good one.
Update (June 20, 2007 3:00pm)
Apparently Ross has decided to cancel his run for congress. As a result, he has removed the above-linked MySpace group dedicated to that run. Does that count as a weenie move or a manly one?
Ross has decided to try to cover his tracks. Not on my watch!