Sunday, February 13, 2011

Some Articles on the AOL Purchase of Huffpo

Here are a couple of interesting articles on the AOL purchase of Huffpo. Feel free to comment with your opinions or links to other articles.

The Controversial Huffington Post-AOL Merger: 7 Questions That Matter from AlterNet

AOL Buying the Huffington Post for $315 Million from TPMLivewire

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Censor One for the Gipper

I was having an interesting discussion about the legacy of Reagan and the Berlin wall. It started with a post I wrote where I briefly described some interactions I've had with various friends from Germany, Poland, and Russia about the fall of the Berlin wall and communism in general. I've known four people, one German, two Russians, and one Polish immigrant. The Polish guy was my boss for a while and was a mostly far right wing believer who was actually contemptuous of Lek Walenska and the Solidarity movement and the others were girl friends of one kind or another. One was fairly left wing like me and the other two were moderate to conservative. The amazing thing was all these people had one thing in common, they literally LOL'd at the idea that Ronald Reagan was responsible for the fall of communism. They had been there and they knew it was due to the people of the region not some American actor who took credit for it. Here is the thread that got published with the comment from LateBloomer2 that I responded to. (Note: click "Expand Full Thread" to see the whole thread)

Here is my reply which Huffpo deemed inappropriate to post:

"Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" had NO effect?"

It probably provoked a few laughs. The idea that Ronald Reagan had any moral authority to preach to the USSR about human rights is I'm sorry but just laughable.

Yes, the thugs in Eastern Europe who beat up trade unionists and other people of conscience were evil. But compared to the torture centers and death squads in Central and South America and other parts of the world that were created by US puppets the Eastern Europeans were amateurs. Where the East German or Polish secret police would beat you up the Chileans, Guetamalan­s, and the Central American "Freedom Fighters" would torture you to death and then kill you and anyone whose name you screamed as you were being tortured.

As just one example look up Jennifer Harbury, a US woman who married a Guatemalan national who was tortured to death. We know his story only because he married a well educated US woman but there are thousands of other victims of US disdain for human rights.

Just to be clear I'm not saying the Berlin Wall or anything done by the USSR was justified because of what the US did. I'm just saying that the idea that the US had any moral authority to critique the USSR is not supported by facts and that certainly Gorbachev (as well as the majority of educated people outside the US) knew that.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Yet Another Fed Up Huffpo User

Here is an email from Huffpo user Ely who was fed up with Huffpo's censorship:

I deleted my long-time HuffPo account yesterday, after being completely fed up with what appears to me to be an increasingly censorship-prone "screening policy." I've noticed this before with the occasional screened comment, but lately I feel that it's getting out of control. Many "hot" news stories routinely have hundreds, if not thousands, of comments "pending." It's absolutely ridiculous.

Here's the straw that broke the camel's back for me.

Yesterday, Arianna posted an opinion article on Davos. The gist of at least a portion of the article is that the "economic forum" held in Davos this week is likely to have a "somber" mood, with a major focus on the growing economic disparity between the super rich and the rest of us.

My comment was this (it's from memory, but the "inflammatory" portions are definitely preserved):

"It seems ironic that you speak of Davos as a means towards solving the growing economic disparity, when Davos itself is a perfect example of that disparity. It's an ultra-exclusive, invite only, super expensive (many participants spend hundreds of thousands of dollars just to be there) party for the super-elite. The NYT recently described it as "successful people wanting to be seen with other successful people.

Do you really believe participants will be feeling "somber" about the crumbling middle class as they celebrate their record corporate profits (despite laying off half their workers)? If they actually cared, they'd invest the millions of dollars spent on the event on the people they claim to want to help, rather than on themselves."

Obviously the comment is pissed-off, but it's an honest comment that I believe should be seen as criticism - not anything worthy of censorship. There is no profanity, no incitement to violence, copyright infringement - in short, nothing that violates HP's "guiding principles" for screening comments.

I believe this comment was censored because it disagreed with Ms. Huffington's perspective on the matter. I find it ironic that she's of the progressive liberal ilk, but runs her newspaper like a dictatorship, complete with active censorship of any opinion that undermines her own.

Once I realized I had been censored, I posted another comment talking about how HP censors comments, unless they kiss the butt of the author's viewpoint or the HP's viewpoint. Obviously that comment never saw the light of day either.

That's my story. Thanks for giving those of us that are fed up with this whole thing a forum in which to vent! My guess is that you're likely to get more of these kinds of emails, because, as I said above, it appears that the censorship is getting worse, not better.