Sunday, September 5, 2010

9/11 Censorship Discussion on C&L

I left a comment on the Crooks and Liars Open Thread last night regarding the Huffington Post petition (I'm MikeD on Crooks and Liars). It started a whole discussion about 9/11 censorship which ironically ended up having the moderator censor many comments. You can see the thread and the spots where comments were deleted by the link above or just click here.

I wanted to also share here my final comment from that thread because I think it gets to an important issue. I'm not at all opposed to some form of moderation at the Huffington Post but rather to the extreme, arbitrary, unexplained censorship currently practiced. Here is that comment:

So I thought it was kind of Ironic that my initial comment about censorship at the Huffington Post resulted in a bunch of comments that got deleted here. But I want to make a point about how that censorship is qualitatively different than what I'm complaining about at Huffpo. The censorship here was based on a clear, public, well defined policy. They don't want to go down the 9/11 Truth Movement rabbit hole at C&L. Now personally, I don't agree with that policy. I think its better to let people talk and air the issues even if it results in huge threads.

But, and here is the big but, I completely respect the right of C&L to make and enforce that decision. What is going on at the Huffington Post is nothing like that. When comments get censored they won't tell you why. The censorship is completely arbitrary. By changing a word here or there that in no way alters the meaning of the comment it can change whether it gets moderated or not. Comments that are perfectly polite and on topic are censored because they point out fundamental errors in the author's article. For example Depak Chopra's understanding of physics or Robert Lanza's representation of his research in psychology. That is the kind of arbitrary pointless censorship we are complaining about.

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