Thursday, March 24, 2011

In Reply: Attack the behaviors and the individuals using them, but don’t generalize that this particular bad actor (whatever his politics) represents the thinking or behavior of ALL cons (or libs)

In Reply to: Arianna Shrugs: Should Huffington Return to Right?
For me as a writer with generally liberal policy views but an independent outlook, it’s an honor to have access to two very different audience.”
As I keep saying, if you have to continually tell folks you have liberal policy views, there’s probably a reason. Personally, I’d like to see you do a post or two where you spell one or two of ‘em out, and explain why the conservative position on that/those issues is wrong. And I’d like to see it posted at one of Breitbart’s “big” sites, if at all possible, so we can all judge how maturely they discuss the issue--and unless I miss my guess, your parentage, your education, and the degree to which they believe you’re wearing headgear made from your own buttocks--with you.
"…that bastion of censorship, The DailyKos…”
This is starting to take on the whiff of sour grapes, Lee. Yes, Kos was wrong to remove you, but you have to keep in mind, while you are entitled to speak, and to say anything you wish, you’re not entitled to set up your soap box anywhere you want, or to address any particular audience. (Or to any audience, at all.) Kos was wrong to dismiss you for speaking ill of John Edwards, and not just because your suppositions about him turned out to be correct, in the end. But they have the right to do it. It's their blog.

I’m not a reader of either Kos or HuffPo, except when sent there by a link. My issue with 'em is they’re both way too busy for me. I prefer the quietude and familiarity of personal blogs, and the commenters that frequent them. I was always under the impression that any voice on/of the left was welcome at Kos (and any voice, period, at HuffPo), even when offering an unpopular–and perhaps even, conservatively voiced–viewpoint. At the same time, I can appreciate that not all opinions are or should be welcome in all places. If a blogger wants to set up a place where only left or right wing opinion is accepted and acceptable, I don’t see it as being all that different from a blog about auto repair not accepting posts or comments on baking apple pie. Kos does give the impression that all voices on/of the left are permitted, however… even ones that don’t tow the majority left/lib lines…

I guess what I'm saying is, what Kos did to you is disappointing and wrong, but it may be time to mop up the milk, rather than letting it lay there on the floor souring, and giving off that milky, grapey smell. I've only been reading your stuff for a few days and this is the second or third mention of this incident. There's an argument to be made that your reaction to "The Liberal Blogosphere" is the result of your being mistreated by this one small representative of it.

The strike seems a little nutty, to me. While I think Arianna’s answer seems a little cold, I think she’s correct. (And, tying it to our discussion of Godin, yesterday “In a digital world, the gift I give you almost always benefits me more than it costs.” - Seth Godin, from What Matters Now. Writers giving it away for free today are helping to ensure they’ll be able to sell it, tomorrow.)

Color of change on the other hand, isn't so black and white an issue (if you'll pardon the pun). Arianna has every right to let Andrew speak on her soapbox. But, as I said above, he’s not therefore entitled to be heard by Arianna’s audience, or by any other. And Arianna’s audience IS entitled to say that they think he has enough exposure on his own sites, and that they choose not to read him. (Is it closed-minded of them not to read what he has to say? Perhaps it is… But then, everyone picks and chooses who in the media they want to give their attention to, and who they do not, and no one reads/listens to every word penned by every blogger/pundit with whom they disagree; No one. We all choose our media diet–based on time, position on issues, attitude, and who knows what-all–and choosing not to consume Andrew Breitbart is as valid as deciding against a “meal” of any other writer. So is letting the “chef” know that you’d prefer not to see any overdone “Breitbart” on your plate.

There’s a difference between shutting down speech and saying “Not here, thanks.” If anyone’s saying Breitbart should be removed from the internet or not permitted on TV or in public, I’d be shoulder to shoulder with you, opposing that, because while I disagree with him, the minute folks have the power to remove him, they have the power to remove a voice I agree with, as well. I may not approve of what you say, but I'll defend your right to say it. But to say, "we won’t read him, and object to Arianna Huffington giving him another outlet on which to spew his garbage"--on what we all agree is or was a left-leaning site–isn’t censorship or shutting down speech. It’s more speech, made in opposition to Breitbart's speech, which is just as it should be, if ya ask me…

Personally, I’d be more inclined to accept Breitbart’s being A Huffington Post blogger if it was an exchange program, where in return, Breitbart accepts a HuffPo liberal spouting liberal views on one of Breitbart's "Big" sites. (Sorry, Lee, you don’t count, because as I said, everyone (including you, yourself) has to keep repeating and reassuring the casual reader that you’re really a liberal, because, for all your protestation, it just isn’t all that obvious, anymore…)

I’m sure Arianna is disgusted by some of the tactics employed against her and others from any/all sides… As well she should be. But I still reject the whole “the left (or right) does it “more,” or “worse,” notions folks keep insisting on, as though there is any objective proof, and as though the claim, made one way or the other solves anything, anyway. Folks on both sides are still being hit with bad tactics by folks on both sides. “Enemy” and “friendly” fire abound. Attack the behaviors and the individuals using them, but don’t generalize that this con (or lib) represents the thinking or behavior of ALL cons (or libs).

Posted March 24, 2011 at 9:37 am, LS blog time

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