Barrow's very angry over those who have detracted from his consultant gigs and methodology across the blogosphere, so much so that he's now publicly threatening to sue. Perhaps I'd be a target, but it's not because I've actually committed libel. Nothing I've ever written was ever meant to be libel, I've worked very hard to make sure the proof was irrefutable. Anything that I've ever been wrong about on this blog, I've always corrected very soon. If there is anything I'm wrong about now, I'm happy to correct it - just let me know about it. The most I think I've ever been wrong about regarding Barrow was on the date of an article I linked to, something I corrected within 24 hours of the blog being posted. It was a mistake and I apologize.
I have never published his home address, as he seems to claim. In fact, I went out of my way to avoid publishing his home address, though that home address is, for better or worse, a part of the public record. Barrow made that decision, when he formed Pyramid Associates and took a consultant gig with the Yes on 2 campaign in Maine: Campaigns must report their expenditures and list key information about whoever's services they've used, including posting the business address. Barrow decided to use his home address as his business address: Yes on 2 published Barrow's home address, not me, because they were required by law to do it.
When I received reports that Barrow had worked for Maine's Yes on 2 Campaign in 2008, I demanded my sources help me find irrefutable proof -- because I do not write wild claims on my site. Not only did I have to know Pyramid Associates took on $15,000, I had to know that Clyde Barrow was Pyramid Associates. I am not a journalist, but I try to hold to journalistic standards when I am proving a claim that I make. I had to tell my sources that it wasn't good enough that Pyramid Associates was a Fall River company, telling them to find me that evidence that Barrow was Pyramid. They did, in the form of a yellow pages website -- again, public information. I never published the address, but I did link to the public information, because I needed to have that proof for readers. Since bloggers have no editor to vouch for their veracity on a blog, we have to link to critical information. Barrow has subsequently had the yellow-pages site take his address off the record, which is his right, but to say I published his home address, writing it on my website, if that is indeed his claim (he never points me out by name, I just make the assumption), is erroneous. He let it be published himself and made it a matter of public record.
You know, I don't actually like doing this. When I signed up to be a blogger, this isn't what I had in mind. However, it's imperative that people realize who Barrow is and realize that he isn't a completely impartial source on casinos. Why? Because he's an exceptionally important figure in the fight. He made himself that important, because he's obviously a very bright guy. I've unfortunately been one of the few people who knew about Barrow long ago, since I knew of him during my UMASS Dartmouth days and have cared so much about casinos, which is why I'm one of the few who started to post about him. I'm not sure if he ever cared much before, until some of my major points started being picked up by the mainstream media, as it has very recently.
He calls people like me a "zealot" and I say he's at least mislead the general public, by saying he's never taken industry money, backing up my claims. He's gone on to say he never took money from a casino or gaming company and that's probably true, but as I've said multiple times now, it's a distinction without a difference. He has taken money from groups wanting to build casinos, be it campaign committees or the Golf Course in Maine. His research center takes on private clients, which at least once was a group wanting a casino built in Rhode Island, paying $20,000 for Barrow's Center's work, right around when that group took a $25,000 donation made by Harrah's, which was enough to pay for Barrow's work and then some. Is that a conflict of interest? Well, there's at least that appearance -- and it's something, as a professor and public employee, he should disclose. Barrow is certainly entitled to have side gigs, but he should be disclosing any possible conflict of interest whenever appropriate, like when being asked about it by State Senator Tucker at a Beacon Hill hearing. This is pretty basic stuff.
I don't see where Barrow could think he has a case, I guess that this just has more to do with the fact that he wants to scare people like me away and stop our free speech. Threatening a lawsuit is often a good way to do it, even if one doesn't have much of a case. He makes over $150,000 a year between his University position and gigs, so he could probably afford to make the lives of bloggers and activists a little more bothersome, but I would counter to him that it would just be more bad news cycles for him, getting the press to look at issues he clearly doesn't want people to look at -- and, at the end of the day, that would hurt his efforts.
I'd like to offer him an alternative -- instead of trying to shush me up, why not come on my podcast, LeftAhead.com, and we can talk about the issues? I promise that it'll be a respectful environment and he can get his full say. Maybe we'll even realize we all have valid points? I'm willing to listen, is he?