April 22nd, 2010

Deace’s New Rules of Engagement

Steve DeaceAs some of you may have noticed, I was not on Steve Deace’s radio program this past Monday. After writing an article about Danny Carroll’s appearance on his show, Steve wanted to us to sit down and talk before doing another show.

Due to his busy schedule, the first time we were able to sit down was yesterday at lunch. Our meeting lasted for three hours, and we discussed a wide range of topics. For those sitting near us, I’m sure it sounded an awful lot like our Monday “Inside Politics” segment.

It is obvious that Steve and I don’t see eye-to-eye on everything. However, most of our disagreements are over tactics not issues. While I’m sure that our little on-air spats make for good radio, the off-air conversations in the studio is where the real fireworks appear. Regardless of how it may seem, I like Steve and consider him a friend. He has a wonderful wife and family, and is a good father.

In the heat of a campaign, or in politics in general, it can be difficult to not let politics affect friendships and other personal relationships. Personally, this is something that I have experienced in 2007 while serving as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa. Fortunately, after the dust of a campaign settles, time usually mends any hard feelings that were developed over the course of a campaign.

At our meeting yesterday, Steve provided me his new rules of engagement for his radio program. To be honest, I agree with 90% of them. Click here to read his new standard operating procedure.

The one that I take issue with is number six, which is entitled “Total Transparency and Full Disclosure.” While this rule applies to everyone, I think it is specifically targeted at and me. Basically, it states that if I want to continue to be a guest on his show, I have to make major changes to this website.

Rule Six States:

6. Total transparency and full disclosure.
We do not feature, respond, or link to local sources that conceal the true identities of those editorializing or reporting in their medium through anonymity or pseudonyms.

Note: this applies to authors and not sources, because with anonymous sources the author is still accountable for what he reports they’re saying.

Nor will we drive traffic to websites that allow anonymous people hiding behind pseudonyms to lie unchecked about our program or what we believe in their comments section or on their message boards.

When it’s at all possible our listeners/readers should know the biases of both the host and the guests on the program so that they can get an accurate read on the motive of what they’re hearing or reading. And our listeners/readers should know the identity of the source giving his or her opinion on the air or on our website for the exact same reasons. Otherwise, there is no way of knowing the intentions and integrity of what is said by those our audience is exposed to.

This is especially important in local media, when people can easily use facades to attack someone in their same sphere of influence without ever being directly accountable to that person for what they’ve said or written. Most of all, we don’t believe it’s Biblical for a Christian to confront or criticize another brother or sister in this way.

If a person chooses to use anonymous or a handle as their identity then they’re choosing not to really exist, and we will treat them accordingly. This also includes ghost writers on our own blog going forward.

I read this to mean that popular anonymous blogs like Krusty Konservative and Battleground would cease to exist. I understand people’s frustrations with anonymous blogs and have made a point to not add any additional anonymous blogs to the websites roaster. Instead, I have added people like Dave Davidson, Nathan Tucker, and Jamie Johnson as occasional contributors.

This rule would also mean that people could not comment on this site unless they did so with their actual name. I think this is unrealistic. The Des Moines Register, Washington Post and every other newspaper and on-line site operates much like As long as you have a valid email address, you can comment.

I understand that the comment section can get a little rambunctious, and I can understand why he gets upset with what people write about him or distort what his motives are. That’s also something that I deal with. In a very minor way, people like Steve and I are public figures. We broadcast our opinions via the airwaves or on-line. Not everyone agrees, and some people can get nasty, but that is the nature of the business.

I also think this raises questions about Steve’s radio program too.

1. Steve doesn’t like what people write about him in the comment section of this website. I’m sympathetic to that, but he speculates on private people’s motives over the airwaves on a daily basis. If he doesn’t like what people write in the comment section, he should not talk about what he thinks a particular donor’s motives for contributing to a campaign may be. That is, unless he has had a conversation with them and knows exactly what their motives are. Contrary to popular belief, these are private individuals, not public figures.

2. Will people who call in to his show be asked to state their first and last names before being allowed to talk on the air? Even if they volunteer that information, how can we be sure that they are who they claim to be? I raise this question because it is similar to what he is asking me to do with the comment section.

I’m having a hard time understanding what the comment section and anonymous bloggers that reside on have anything to do with what I wrote about Danny Carroll and the Iowa Family Policy Center. Their public actions and statements have spurred everything that I have written in regards to IFPC. As a columnist, I give my opinion on what is happening, much like Steve does on his radio show every day.

If you don’t like what I have to say, everyone is welcome to disagree with me in the comment section or to choose not to view the content that I provide free of charge. Likewise, if Steve doesn’t want me to be his guest on his radio program anymore, he should just say so. I’m more offended by receiving a list of rules and regulations than I would be if he just said that he can’t have me on any more.

The four to seven time slot on WHO Radio is Steve’s show, no one else’s. I have enjoyed my time as a guest on his show. I have always realized that I was just that, a guest. It is up to him who he invites on his show, and if the anonymous comments and bloggers on preclude me from being his guest, then I guess the show I was on a couple weeks ago was my last.

I have worked tirelessly to build this website and am proud of the content that it provides. In the last few months, the site has been averaging 5,000 page hits a day. The site has also gained respect nationally and will be part of the Washington Post’s Political Blog Network that is about to launch.

I appreciate Steve as a friend and the generosity has shown me by letting me be a guest on his show. I think some of his suggestions deserve consideration, but those are decisions that I will make over time, not as a condition of being a guest on his show.

Photo by Dave Davidson

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About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.

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