I Don’t Wanna Write Like Mike

Back when I lived in Alaska, a guy named Mike Doogan wrote a column for the Anchorage Daily News.  He was funny and took swipes at most everyone and everything.  I liked reading his column.  Then one day he announced his "I Want to Write Like Mike" contest in which readers were encouraged to write and submit columns of their own.  He chose three winners and mine was one of them.  My column, something to do with litter found along hiking trails, ran below the fold in the Sunday edition of the paper.  I was very excited and grateful to Mike for the opportunity.  Soon after, I landed a guest columnist slot at the paper.  I’ve always thought of my little "Mike" victory as the confidence booster I needed to write and submit my work.

Some time after we left Alaska, Mike Doogan was elected to the Alaskan legislature.  He’s now a Democratic house representative for people in Anchorage.  When Zippy and I found out, we laughed but weren’t too surprised; the Alaska political scene has always been strange.

This past weekend Alaska politics took another bizarre twist.

Representative Mike Doogan decided to out an anonymous political blogger.

AKMuckraker via The Mudflats: Tiptoeing Through the Muck of Alaskan Politics, came to national attention during the 2008 campaign when John McCain selected AK governor Sarah Palin to be his running mate.  AKMuckraker wrote about Gov Palin’s job performance and the many sticky ethical issues surrounding Palin and her family.  The Mudflats educated voters in a way no other media did.

It seems Rep Mike Doogan didn’t have a problem with AKMuckraker going after Palin (in fact, he penned his own column on the subject.)  Doogan got his knickers in a knot when AKMuckraker wrote about Rep Doogan’s rude, dismissive emails to constituents.  That’s when Doogan made it his duty to figure out the identify of the person behind The Mudflats.  Even though, as AKMuckraker stated in a post this weekend:

It said 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.

Doogan didn’t care about AKMuckraker’s privacy.  Doogan decided it was more important to use his resources as an elected official to play private eye and then broadcast his findings in a legislative newsletter.  

I don’t know what happened to the Mike Doogan who gave me a huge boost.  I don’t know the source of his anger and bitterness.  But I do know that in launching an assault against free speech and the first amendment, Doogan changed my mind: I no longer want to write like Mike.


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