Now this is getting interesting.
The Associated Press’ Matt Gouras is reporting that anonymous liberal blogger MT Cowgirl has blogged from the state’s wireless computer network.
Of course, given that hundreds of people or use the state’s wireless network on any given day, Gouras’ story doesn’t definitively implicate any state employee of doing political work on state time and on state resources.
However, according to the article, MT Cowgirl, whoever he or she is (she insists she’s indeed a she, though some commenters have suggested otherwise) frequently logged in on the state’s wireless network at the Office of Public Instruction, sometimes all day long:
The Department of Administration, provided with detail on the IP address of some posts, was able to identify that the blogger had been accessing — all day long at times — the state wireless guest system through a hookup in the Office of Public Instruction using an Apple Macintosh laptop.
The agency spokeswoman at the time, Jessica Rhoades, said neither she nor anyone else at the agency was doing it. Rhoades, who recently went to work for the governor’s office, said the agency’s information technology found at that time the wireless system could theoretically be accessed by someone sitting in the parking lot.
As Gouras points out in his article, whoever MT Cowgirl is, that particular blogger has shown an “uncanny knack” of tracking down insider information before anyone else, including most journalists, and has been a major cheerleader of Gov. Brian Schweitzer.
Speculation about her/his identity has been a hot topic for many months within Montana’s political circles. MT Cowgirl blogs with a ferocity and frequency that’s dazzling, but she does so anonymously and without any accountability. She doesn’t hesitate to post a “rumor,” and she has at times angered fellow progressives.
Gouras’ story is hooked on a post Cowgirl wrote last weekend suggesting that Roy Brown was less of a man because of his appearance and choice of briefcase. I blogged about that earlier this week here.
But Gouras’ story raises an more important point than whether or not MT Cowgirl occasionally irritates her fellow Democrats:
The race between Van Dyk and Brown for a Billings Senate seats is one of the most heated legislative races of this campaign, and the post by the left-leaning, anonymous blogger underlines questions of accountability in attempting to influence elections in the new media age. Especially with posts coming from inside state government.
I’ve had dozens of conversations about MT Cowgirl in various circles in Helena and beyond. Most people I talk to believe that Cowgirl may in fact be more than one person, and let’s just say I wasn’t at all surprised that Gouras revealed that the blogger or bloggers known as MT Cowgirl often uses a state computer network from the Office of Public Instruction.