Monday, January 17, 2011

Welcome to the AOL! Your thoughts must be in line with ours!

I just read an article about Maine's new Republican Governor telling the NAACP to kiss his butt and I was going to leave a comment when I got greeted with this message:

"Our New Approach to Comments
In an effort to encourage the same level of civil dialogue among Politics Daily’s readers that we expect of our writers – a “civilogue,” to use the term coined by PD’s Jeffrey Weiss – we are requiring commenters to use their AOL or AIM screen names to submit a comment, and we are reading all comments before publishing them. Personal attacks (on writers, other readers, Nancy Pelosi, George W. Bush, or anyone at all) and comments that are not productive additions to the conversation will not be published, period, to make room for a discussion among those with ideas to kick around."

At first I thought "hey, this will shut down the vile leftist comments saying the Governor should be killed" (because you know they're coming) but then I read the message again.  The problem I have with this whole concept is that it's completely subjective.  What constitutes a personal attack?  Calling someone vulgar?  Idiotic? Simple?  There are no clear definitions here. 

The line that really bothers me is "comments that are not productive additions to the conversation will not be published, period."  How is that defined?  Productive in what way?  By whose agenda?  Productive to a Republican will most likely not be producitve to a Democrat, so do you let them all in, or keep them all out?  And if you let them all in, why have the policy in the first place?

I predict that people will start complaining about the content that has been allowed to be posted.  It's too liberal, it's too concervative, it offends me, etc - and AOL will be forced to either abandon this policy (the best possible solution), enforce it in a very strict manner (which is tantamount to censorship) or the comments section will wither on the vine because people will just go somewhere else to read and comment on stories. 

I think that's what the left wants - for censorship to increase and participation to decrease.  They have control of the mainstream media...the internet is the only place where conservatives have an equal voice to liberals.  Even if the policies of censorship quiet the liberals on the web, they still have the edge in MSM communication (though conservatives have the edge on talk radio, which is also under attack).  I also suspect that this is not the only web site where we're going to see this kind of policy being employed.

The PC crowd is doubling down and your thoughts and comments had better line up with those of the establishment, or you're going to lose your voice.  Welcome to the post-Tuscon world. 

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