When I started the Positively Pennsauken News Blog earlier this year the idea was to have independent media in Pennsauken. All Around Pennsauken is informative about township events but is operated by Pennsauken Township and is not independent. I often see it as a promotional tool for our local elected officials. Last year there was a Pennsauken based political story I tried to pitch to the news media. The feedback I received was that a story about Pennsauken politics was simply too small to attract the media’s interest. I felt our residents deserved a place where they could read factual researched based information about our town. I think the people agree as this blog is gaining popularity and is approaching 10,000 hits recently. I pay for the hosting and the domain and do not monetize this blog. I provide it as a service to my fellow residents.
I have not hidden my political views. I am a registered Republican voter. However I have given equal time to both Republican and Democratic candidates when they’ve chosen to accept. Last year on the Positively Pennsauken Facebook page (which I also founded) I offered every candidate running for Pennsauken Township Committee and Pennsauken Board of Education the opportunity to participate in a Q&A session before election day. All of the Democratic candidates for Pennsauken Township Committee participated. The Republican candidate did not. Most of the Board of Education candidates also participated. The Q&A sessions were informative and gave voters the opportunity to ask questions of our local candidates. This year candidates on the Democratic ticket have declined to join our Facebook page or be interviewed for this blog.
I say all of this because there appear to be some who want to use my words to hurt candidates running for local office. They use my words on this blog or on social media in politically motivated attacks. I want to make this perfectly clear. The opinions expressed and words spoken by me either on this blog or on social media are my own. I am not a Republican party official, I do not hold any position in any campaign, I do not represent any campaign or candidates and I am not a candidate running for office. The About Us section of this blog reads;
“The Positively Pennsauken News Blog reports on the organizations, events, people and politics of Pennsauken. This news blog was founded and is operated by Mike Astringer, a Pennsauken resident. This news blog is an independent media not affiliated with any government entity, political party or candidate for public office.
The opinions expressed on the Positively Pennsauken News Blog are those of the writer and do not represent any government or independent entity, political party, political candidate or any other individual.”
Unfortunately there are trolls on social media who want to use my words to further their political agenda and damage opposing candidates. These people do not like what they’ve read on this blog and rather than challenge the information I’ve provided or debate on the issues they resort to personal attacks on social media and worse try to attribute my views to candidates running for office. It’s juvenile and does nothing to provide Pennsauken residents the information they need to make an informed decision in the voting booth.
In a conversation with one of these trolls they actually hinted that it was a Pennsauken Township official (using his name) who encouraged them to attack me online (I have the private message thread on social media saved). It was shocking to hear that a paid Pennsauken Township employee and official was encouraging this politically motivated juvenile behavior.
There are times when I’ve let these people get to me, I’ve taken their bait and responded. I’m not always proud of that but I am human and I am flawed just like all humans. Those responses, just like this blog, are mine and mine alone.
I hope that the residents of Pennsauken will not allow the Internet trolls to distract from what I am trying to do here, the hours I spend researching and writing and the money I’ve put into this. There is no personal gain in this for me. I provide the research and information so my fellow Pennsauken residents can be informed.
I also hope that my fellow residents will not let the Internet trolls attribute my words to any candidate(s) running for public office. This is apparently their win at all cost strategy and frankly I hope that residents find it as offensive as I do. If the Internet trolls feel they support the best candidate(s) to represent Pennsauken they should talk about their candidates not try to bring the opposition down because they do not like the things I say on this bog or on social media.