Friday, August 17, 2007

The Warrantless Blogtapping Program

Issue: Rightwing Hypocrisy - Hawkins scoffs at a Liberal blog for "STIFLING DISSENT" by closing off comments.

John Hawkins, owner of the conservative blog Right Wing News, writes about a liberal blog doing some "banning" of critical commentary:

When a few righties stopped by to challenge the almighty, allknowing Mahablogger on her rhetoric, she shut the comments down. Effectively STIFLING DISSENT, as it were.
Seems to me that shutting down the comments "stifles" both dissent and support. It's an equal opportunity restriction. Given that, I can't see how Hawkins can make this a question of ideological censorship as he seems to be doing. But, that's not really the point I want to make. My beef with this is the bald-faced hypocrisy of Hawkins, who has the nerve to throw stones and brazenly criticize a liberal blog in this way when he did precisely the same to me. In fact, I can argue that what Hawkins did to me is even worse, since he didn't muffle the rumblings of his own stormtroopers when he shut me down. Sadly, what I find even more discouraging, though, is that the regular commenters at RWN seem to have collective amnesia about this, too, never calling Hawkins on this hypocrisy. When Hawkins complains about the Mahablog effectively "STIFLING DISSENT," hardly any of his regular commenters think to say to him: "Uh, but Hawkins, what about Huckupchuck? Did you not 'stifle' him for no apparent reason other than that he expressed dissenting and critical viewpoints? Be careful throwing stones when you live in a glass house yourself." Or something along those lines.

I know that there are some good people on the RWN comment boards who have asked Hawkins for some clarification on why he banned me. And I appreciate that. But such efforts have only been limited to asking for clarification. And, with the exception of a regular commenter there who goes by the name President_Friedman, I haven't seen anyone criticize Hawkins publicly for banning me and yet failing to offer any reason why he did so. And I certainly haven't seen anyone at RWN publicly call Hawkins on the hypocrisy of his criticizing the Mahablog and other liberal blogs for "stifling dissent" when he's guilty of the same behavior.

NOTE (Friday, August 17, 2007, 7:44PM CST): I updated this posting from its original, which I posted hastily a few hours ago before heading out the door for dinner with the family, in order to add some more thoughts on the subject.


Anonymous said...

I was also banned at RWN. I used a sock puppet, I guess that was the reason. Although everyone on the site knew the sock puppet was me, I told them when and why I changed my screen name.
I miss RWN and I am not angry I am banned but two things bug me, the first is that I was mostly a respectful poster. If JH keeps banning like this, there'll be nothing left to read. Huck was mostly respectful as well.
Secondly, there is nothing but a denied access when you are banned. I understand that for some of the rude jerks that were banned. Wino and scrappy come to mind. But I feel otherwise it is borderline insulting and I am no fan of JH.

Huck said...

anonymous - Thanks for visiting my blog. Now you have me curious as to who you are! I admit that I can get pretty testy and confrontational on blog comment threads, so I have no doubt I rubbed Hawkins the wrong way too many times. But I know that I am very mild compared to some of the attack-dog rightwingers who frequent that site. The thing that gets me about Hawkins is that he didn't even have the courage to at least tell me why he did what he did. He just cut me off and ignored me. And not only me, but also everyone else who wondered as well. Fine. I can live with that. But I learned something about Hawkins in the process. I will always now think he is a coward and a fraud with very thin skin when it comes to smart and well-articulated and well-reasoned criticism. He pretends to run a tolerant site, but the fact is that it is not so very tolerant. I really thought Hawkins was different in this respect; but now I know otherwise. Good luck to you.