(Editor’s note: This post was updated at 2:30 p.m. on April 6. The original version incorrectly characterized the position of the Barefoot and Progressive blog regarding Jake Payne. We apologize for the error. Terry Boyd and The Valley Report’s Brian Tucker contributed to this post.)

We’re not certain it’s “news,” but it’s sure as hell entertaining.

Someone or several someones operating anonymously created the Jake Payne Watch website, a parody/exposé of pioneering Louisville political blogger and muckraker Jake Payne, who blogs at The ‘Ville Voice and Page One Kentucky.

The Jake Payne Watch, which appears to have been live since March 27, promised Sunday to unleash a series of stories about Payne, stories justified because Payne uses his site to be, well, mean to people.

Under the Payne-ful headline of “There Will Be Blood In The Water, And Then The Sharks Will Come,” the author/authors promised a series of bombshell stories about Payne, who is occasionally less than politic with his readers – his enemies and his friends (though those categories are fairly fluid.)

As we embark on a week that will see multiple anonymously-sourced stories, we thought it essential to address why we are conducting ourselves in this way. We keep our identity under wraps for one reason: to protect those we care about from reprisal. Our namesake has conducted himself unchallenged for nearly four years. Individuals capable of doing so rightfully fear that he will pursue a vendetta against innocent associations.

That ends now. The stories begin Monday.


Except it’s Tuesday and so far, there are no stories.

Instead, Jake Payne Watch declared victory – that its creator(s) are rethinking whether to unfurl their “bombshell post,” offering readers a chance to decide Payne’s fate.

So what do you say, Kentucky? Do I hold the incriminating documents supplied to me as a guarantee against future malfeasance? Or do I publish them? Poll is on the right.

In lieu of blowing the lid off, Jake Payne Watch published what’s represented as a copy of the real Jake’s curriculum vitae, questioning claims of a Ph.D. in political science from American University.

Some of the comments were less than complimentary of the tepid delivery after a big windup.

Our favorite:

Why don’t you just call American University to confirm or (disprove) the PhD claim by The Talented Dr. Payne? I don’t get your self-restraint. If this dude is a fraud, doesn’t every citizen with credible evidence have a responsibility to bring it forth? We suspect he has threatened you with a lawsuit in, like, 3 … 2 …head … desk … Finish what you started and pledged. For the sake of cred, if you’ve got the goods, bring ’em on.

What is the real story here? Really, we see the convergence of multiple story lines starting with the increasing influence and power of bloggers and their fight for a growing and voracious audience as the conventional media fades. And above all, we see this as a clash of styles.

The good/bad thing about conventional media is they follow conventions.

Though the editorial pages differ, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal cover the news with the same sort of principled reporting, heavy with sources, balance and excruciating fairness that the Internet Generation finds boring.

Payne is all too happy to F-bomb his audience even as he beats the Courier-Journal and other news sources on big stories.

The Old World restraint is threatened as a generation of news consumers have come to rely on folks like Payne to deliver, so our money is on a CJ reporter or someone in Old Media as the genius behind Jake Payne Report. If that’s the case, the irony would be pretty thick if they turned to the Internet to settle the score.

That said, other major local political blogs such as Blue Bluegrass now are raising concerns about Payne’s susceptibility to being bought off as blogs and Internet-only news sites struggle to find their financial footing.

Some people say this is just a natural progression – that is was just a matter of time before someone challenged Payne’s style. “Jake has no long-time friends, they’re all new,” says a source. “Everybody he hangs out with is still in the ‘getting to know him stage’. That should tell you something about his commitment to loyalty … about which side he’s on.”

Or maybe this really is all about content rather than the person delivering the content.

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