In an recent exchange at The Impolitic, the blog's proprietor, Ms. Libby Spencer, deleted some of my criticisms of her allegations of Bush warmongering on Iran. I had raised basic challenges to her arguments based on facts and logic, but my critical objections were suppressed for violating an ever increasing ad hoc set of posting rules that Ms. Libby deployed to evade the responsiblity of defending her posts.
I did save the majority of my comments to Microsoft Word, and here's a segment from one of the deleted comments:
As I've said before, you've met your match with me, and you don't like it. The anti-Bush insults fly off this page like radiation from a nuclear meltdown. But you wither when called out! Where's old Foggy to defend you?!
Ms. Libby routinely castigates President Bush as a liar, but when confronted with countervailing evidence, she shrivels, or delegates a response to her trustly minion, Capt. Fogg, who is now a co-blogger at the blog.
In my comments there, it doesn't matter how polite and reasonable my objections are posted.
Unfailingly, I'll be attacked for my views with the most vicious ad hominens imaginable. No one should have to endure such abuse simply for raising basic objections to a blog's blatant anti-Americanism. See the comment thread to this post to get an idea of how low those folks will go in attempting to bring down critics.
But what really prompted this post is what happened over at The Moderate Voice over the past couple of days.
Pete Abel, who's a contributor over there, wrote a "Center of Attention" post that identified an entry at The Impolitic as an example of blog writing that attempts "to strike a balanced note on heated debates and controversial issues, or improve our ability to find our own sense of balance by exposing us to new information and different points-of-view."
I left a comment at the post to issue my objections to Ms. Libby and her rabid Bush-bashing. I focused on the issues at hand, and pointed out, with no ad hominem language, that The Impolitic's blog project is essentially revolutionary in its basic orientation, and I doubted the characterization of Ms. Libby as one who strikes a "balanced note."
My comments were specific and documented with supporting links to The Impolitic (see this post, especially, which denounces the adminstration's planning for a potential attack on Iran).
Ms. Libby responded with a plea that she was a victim of a smear campaign, and Pete Abel responded:
Despite the balance of Libby’s posts or views, I thought this particular was notable and worthy of inclusion, largely because of its spotlight on Rep. Lee and her balanced comments...I responded again to clarify my points, which must have violated the posting rules of The Moderate Voice, and they have been deleted.
I do not have a quibble with a blog owner holding commenters to a particular standard. My issue is that it would be a stretch to argue that I violated the rules, a couple of which are as follows:
Comments that are abusive, offensive, contain profane or racist material or violate the terms of service for this blog's host provider will be removed and the author(s) banned from future comments.
Comments posted several times a day with the intent of dominating, re-directing or hijacking the thread by turning a discussion into the equivalent of a bitter shouting match....
Comments posted several times a day that insult or call other commenters or blog writers names or repeatedly make the same point with the effect of or clear intent to annoy other commenters or blog writers.
I used no profanity, not did I use any derogatory language, of either a sexist or racist nature, that would falsely impugn either Ms. Libby or Pete Abel's integrity.
Indeed, I was more than respectful in my assertions of Ms. Libby's fundamental intolerance of competing positions and her absolute refusal to debate the issues at hand.
Yet, my comments are gone, and while most of the other comments in the thread remain, they have been edited to remove any reference to me or my original remarks.
In its comment policy, The Moderate Voice claims to encourage "thoughtful and vigorous discussion among readers who may share differing viewpoints."
Unfortunately, though, vigorous discussions such as those I mount appear to be the last thing the publishers want, and to the extent that those of "different viewpoints" express uncomfortable facts relating to its blog posts, The Moderate Voice will engage of censorship of such opinions.
Because only my comments were deleted, and most of the other comments were left, some which, and particulary Pete Abel's, which was responding to my criticism, I can find no other explanation for such actions.
"The Moderate Voice" appears anything but moderate in this case, and its actions in fact serve to protect hardline antiwar views from legitimate - and respectably offered - criticisms.