Purging Dissent Is Not Democratic

Are “lefty” blogs purging dissent?

Today at TalkLeft:

The primaries are over. Sen. Barack Obama and Joe Biden are our nominees.

This is a historic day for the Democrats and for Denver. TalkLeft fully supports the Democratic ticket. I’ve resolved my conflicts and will both vote for as well as support Obama-Biden in 2008. A Republican-led Justice Department and a Supreme Court with another right-wing ideologue would be the worst possible outcome for me.

If you are unhappy with the ticket, I’m sorry. But, this is a blog, and it’s my blog. TalkLeft will do its part to ensure victory in November. In fact, I encourage everyone to make a donation now to Obama-Biden 2008.


Each of our posts can only accommodate 200 comments. So, for those of you who are remain unhappy with the ticket, please find another place to express your dissatisfaction and negativity. Those critical of the ticket will be limited to four comments in a 24 hour period.

Gee, Jeralyn, perhaps you should change the name of your blog to “TalkObama” since it will be restricted to his campaign-approved talking points.

I am a liberal and I have liberal values.  That means I “talk left” all the time.  To me, party is far less important than country or ideology.  If the Democratic party doesn’t reflect my values, I won’t support it.  Right now it doesn’t, so I don’t.  If that means I get deleted or banned, so be it.

Earlier today, Lambert Strether blocked my account at Corrente.  What was my sin? 

I mentioned William Ayers.  You know, the unrepentant domestic terrorist that is a known associate of Barack Obama.

Says Lambert:

It’s the PUMA equivalent of Bill Clinton shutting down LAX to get his haircut — a zombie talking point, repeated over and over and over again, gaining even its truthiness solely through currency.


And the amazing thing is — and here’s where teh stupid really, really burns — there are all sorts of reasons, right or wrong, not to vote for Obama that are actually important. That have to do with real people’s lives and real issues.

After the convention is, mercifully, over, I hope the PUMAs individually and severally have a come-to-Jeebus moment on truthiness and truth, and figure out whether “any stick to beat a dog” is the right way to blog, or not.* And whoever thinks anything, anything at all can be built on truthy foundation is a lost cause.

Lambert is one of the leading advocates of “Progressive Blogosphere 2.0” and likes to talk about blogger ethics.  So what does he do here?

First he compares the known association of Barack Obama and William Ayers to an urban myth.  LAX was never shut down so Bill Clinton could get a haircut.  He also implies it is strictly a PUMA talking point.  Then he refers to the documented association with the word “truthiness” implying it’s a lie.

When I argue with him, he insults me and calls me names: 

A more pathetic and futile attack on Obama’s judgment is hard to imagine — especially when there would have been so many more ways to attack. FISA’s about judgment. Heck, holding no hearings on Iraq is about judgment. But all we get is this lame-oh shit from wankers — as evidenced by their behavior — who seem totally unable to elevate their game. And this from the inventor of the great Obama Golf! Sweet Jeebus!

And the futility of repeating it, long after it’s clear it’s not getting any traction, doesn’t help matters at all. In fact, it makes you look, as I have pointed out, stupid.

The bright side is that at least we’re dealing with amateurs.

So when I object to name-calling, Lambert says:

Calling names? Oh the humanity. Thank you for sharing your concerns. How about polluting five years of work and thousands of posts with unevidenced, unlinked, sloppily reasoned, tendentious zombie talking points? Over and over and over again? How does “calling names” stack up against that? I’ve reached my gag limit on this. Put up or shut up, and stop making the blog look bad. That goes for the whole load of zombies, all of them: Ayers, Rezko, all the signs hung round the necks of all the zombies. Do the analysis. And it had better be real, unlike whatever No Quarter’s been peddling this week, and better than what that Diamond guy was peddling. Do the work. Not, of course, that it will make any difference now. Well done, all. Deliver me from “friends.”

Finally, he tells me this:

I await the investigative report with interest. Seriously.

Then he promptly blocks my account, making it impossible for me to respond or post the report he claims he is awaiting (seriously.)  Good thing I have my own blog, isn’t it?

As Denisie commented on my earlier post:

It feels like he’s preparing to jump the shark and all week has been about his Thursday night or Friday morning post of “Barack got my vote.”

Earlier this year we saw the purging of dissent from DailyKos, MyDD and other sites.  That’s what led to the creation of The Confluence and Alegre’s Corner, along with many other new sites.  Lambert was one of the people lamenting that purge.  Now he does the very same thing.

Looks like we need PB 3.0

So, are any other “progressive” sites now requiring people to drink the kool-aid in order to gain admission?


20 Responses to Purging Dissent Is Not Democratic

  1. CognitiveDissonance says:

    I’ve noticed the same thing at Corrente as you and Denise. For the past month, it seems like there has been a subtle movement towards Obama. I’m sure they don’t want to make it too blatant, considering their past criticisms. It has definitely been apparent this week. We have seen no real criticism at the huge fiasco we’ve seen at the convention. A couple of months ago, this kind of thing would have merited multiple posts. It’s almost like someone came in and is now pulling their strings. With Talk Left’s increasing repression as well, I think we are basically down to the blogs in the PUMA and JSND coalition. Fine with me. No one else is telling the truth right now, and no one else seems to see the coming train wreck.

  2. myiq2xu says:

    I got the feeling Lambert was intentionally trying to provoke me so he had an excuse to ban me.

    When I didn’t get angry, he banned me anyway.

  3. katiebird says:

    I think it’s weird to open a conversation like that and then be offended by the direction it takes.

    And I really don’t get insulting site members in such a vague way. Did we ever even find out what set him off?

    Also? I think it’s absurd to expect people to attach an appendix to every comment or post detailing the historical accuracy of every reference.

  4. myiq2xu says:

    Read his comment on the previous post

  5. steveeboy says:

    I made BIG poopie in my pants!

    (edited for the amusement of myiq2xu)

  6. sister of ye says:

    That’s okay,myiq2xu, I nevet got approved to comment at Corrente. That’s why it became last on my “check” list. It didn’t bother me too much except when a poster made a big deal of wanting feedback, or complained that someone wouldn’t come on the blog to dispute them. Well, hard to do if you can’t post.

    Since I won’t be checking in at TalkLeft anymore, I’ll try to make it by here once a day. FWIW.

  7. myiq2xu says:

    Welcome sister!

    (ignore s-boy, he’s “special”)

  8. Eleanor A says:

    Hmmmm. I’ve always liked you, 2x…hope to be hanging around. Didn’t know what was going on at Corrente, I think a lot of people have Convention fever this week…being influenced by others…it’ll be interesting to see what’s going on in another month or so.

  9. I myself was thinking in terms of a “progressive blogosphere 3.0” during my contretemps with Texas Darlin, Techdude, and the COLB cultists. (Those are the folks who think that Obama’s Certificate of Live Birth is a fake.) For a while there, I was the bad guy, because I knew that Techdude — a.k.a. Adam Fink — was spewing pseudoscience. I was hated. People voiced suspicion of my motives.

    And now pretty much everyone admits that I was right. And those who don’t stay confined to an intellectual ghetto.

    The folks at No Quarter could not understand why I didn’t “get with the program.” But as Gustav Mahler liked to say: Perish all programs.

    Ultimately, there will be no progressive blogosphere 3.0. There never was a 2.0 or even a 1.0.

    I’m just a guy. An individual. I speak my piece. Those who like to hear it show up at my joint. Those who dig it not, go elsewhere.

    Same with you. You’re individual.

    Don’t follow leaders. Don’t join movements. Just say what you want to say, and the rest will fall into place.

  10. Valhalla says:

    I’m really perturbed by all this. What’s happening already at TL is the return of the DKos crowd — or maybe I should say influx bc I don’t know if they were not-welcomed previously. Half the posts are waxing rhapsodic about Obama’s speech (greatest ever, yes some commenter actually said that), the other 45% are wilding through the comments with the frat-boy putdowns that pass for wit among that sort of crowd. Five % are still trying to stand for some sort of reasonable assessment of the night.

    The censorship thread closed before I could post, but what I would have said is that this was entirely predictable. And I think that it’s what Jeralyn wants. She was getting very unhappy that people were criticizing Obama. She says they’ll still criticize policies and such, but when was the last time Jeralyn criticized Obama for anything? It’s her blog, and she can make whatever rules she wants, but I think allowing any kind of support, as long as it’s support for Obama, is, well, crap. On the censorship thread, there were already 3 comments by the same person dragging out the same old same old about not voting for Obama makes you responsible for a McCain armageddon, or a puppykiller, and 4 minutes later there’s a poster claiming anyone who supported Hillary but not Obama is racist. THAT I have a real problem with — allowing support of Obama, regardless how untrue or nastily it’s phrased, but limiting criticism is just the mirror image of all the sites who criticize him while touting the Muslim middle name crap.

    I read that whole string with Lambert and couldn’t figure out where the hell that was all coming from. I’ve only recently started occasionally adding a comment there. And while there are many well written, extensively documented posts, it’s hardly the majority. A big WTF there. I really don’t see PB2.0 going much of anywhere as long as the people who control the delete button make decisions based on what they agree with or comments that set off the Deleters particular buttons.

    Sorry myiq, to hog up so much of your comment space, but this is almost as disturbing to me as the caucus fraud, fake unity, fake roll call and real misogyny of this campaign.

    If you’re going to have a site that bans comments based on content, then just freakin’ own up to it.

  11. tamerlane says:

    The weak will falter. Yet PUMA will prevail. Turncoats can go frak themselves.

  12. DancingOpossum says:

    Yup. Jeralyn opened up the floodgates to the most vicious pro-Obama folks. Well, I hope she likes what her posts become and the kind of new commenter she gets.

    Lurked over there today and noticed that BTD is still in critical mode: He continues to slam the useless Jim Clyburn and question the wisdom of Barackopolis. So that’s a relief, at any rate!

  13. grayslady says:

    myiq, almost all blogs purge dissent or dissenters (No Quarter is an exception). The difference is in how it is handled. Jeralyn, apparently, doesn’t seem to care that most of her readership does NOT support Obama, or else hasn’t decided whether they can support him, but at least she made a straightforward statement that wasn’t personally directed at any one poster. Corrente, for all the talk about PB 2.0 is, and has been, very definitely PB 1.0. It strikes me as a confused blog where the owners haven’t admitted that they’re struggling to find their comfort zone. The Confluence won’t allow comments about the disturbing pattern of false or missing factual documentation on Obama, including the birth certificate issue, even though the pattern is just as disturbing as the pattern of Obama’s associations with individuals such as Ayers, Rezko, Wright, Pfleger, etc.

    The most comfortable egos–and there aren’t many–allow for dissent, but set the ground rules for how the discussion takes place. Unfortunately, almost all the WordPress and Google blogs have very user-unfriendly formats for backing up statements with data and don’t allow for individual diaries unless approved by the site owner. Consequently, it’s very difficult to link to supporting data if you want to make a statement that could be considered controversial. Markos elected to make a huge financial investment in the kind of software that allows sophisticated diaries and responses. I think that’s why so many were disappointed that his blog went into mental lock-down mode. It’s all about the level of time, money and commitment to blogging. At least you have your own blog for the ultimate in free speech.

  14. bmc says:

    I’ve been banned by CheetoKos, Taylor Marsh, Talk Left [Todd Beeton is a complete twit] so far. I may well be banned now from Lambert’s site, and Jeralyn’s site. I have not attacked anyone to be banned from any site. My crime? Posting links to articles with alternative points of view on issues and on candidates. I am not a “Republican troll” at all, but a Democrat, yet because I didn’t bow down and accept the delusional vision of Obama, and persisted in pointing out discrepancies about the vision vs. reality, I was banned. At mydd, Todd the Twit banned me because I posted a comment, and included a list of sources, which included one wingnut site. You see, I like to read a wide range of opinion, the better to see what the opinions actually are, instead of intentionally propagandizing myself by reading only one viewpoint. Beeton banned me because I included a wingnut source in my list of sources, all the rest of which were liberal or mainstream media sources. I refused to “acknowledge” his warning so I was banned. Todd Beeton is a fucking fascist; a fucking fascist authoritarian liar who calls himself a “progressive.” Same thing with any blog that bans people for simply dissenting from the preferred “truths” the blog owners want to see on their site.

    In other words, here’s their rule: I OWN THE TRUTH. YOU CANNOT SPEAK ANYTHING BUT MY TRUTH HERE.

    That is so paranoid, and so authoritarian, and so fascist that it proves that “progressives” are simply no different than wingnuts when it comes to issues of free speech. Progressives, and the “progressive” blogosphere is simply another authoritarian, fascist movement. I’ll continue to speak out for truth as I see it, just as Joe Cannon will, Savage Politics will, and hopefully some other sites will. You just don’t “ban” people for disagreeing with you; that is such a breathtaking, blatant and brazen disregard for progressive values.

    Oh, and I don’t call myself a “progressive” anymore. I don’t want to be associated with what the term has come to mean. I call myself independent now, because it means something to me in terms of TRUTH.

  15. Mary says:

    I was banned from The Carpetbagger Report (now Washington Monthly), from Kevin Drum’s new blog at Mother Jones, from Eschaton, and from TalkLeft. Before that, I was subjected to vicious ridicule and piling on by supposedly liberal or progressive commenters. I consider that worse than the banning, largely because it gets personal so quickly and moves discussion off of the substantive content and onto personal attack.

    Today, I see Dover Bitch at Digby’s Blog Hullabaloo criticizing Cokie Roberts on a personal level for saying things she didn’t like about Obama. To me, that typifies the mode of attacking the person instead of dealing with the criticism. I believe this is a deliberate campaign by Obama’s staff designed to shut down negative buzz about Obama, not necessarily an internet dynamic.

    Political campaigns have always been dirty. If this is a blogosphere campaign war being deliberately waged using chosen techniques, one consequence is that naive individuals are being caught in the cross-fire. I find myself wondering whether those who wander on scene to participate in democracy and free speech will flee the blogosphere and never come back again, so the comments are left with little but nuts and operatives.

  16. msindy says:

    bmc, I think when you refer to Todd Beeton you mean MyDD (not Talk Left). Jonathan Singer was the worst offender on MyDD – when Jerome Armstrong would defend Hillary (and he was the lone one doing it among the three MyDD front page diarists), Singer would actually rudely cut in on Jerome’s diaries.

    As for Talk Left, not sure if you all caught it but back in late May, BTD let his mask slip – he let loose against the Hillary supporters in the comments and said we were “cultists” and he “despises” us for not riding the unity pony. I knew that was the way the wind was blowing for that site back then.

    Taylor Marsh is the ultimate of the fair weather friends – having built up a site of 100% Hillary supporters, with 100% anti-Obama diaries, she turned on a dime just when Hillary needed support the most, about the same time. Armstrong actually held out longer than Marsh.

    Essentially, what we are seeing is that for some, principles matter less than being associated with the party in power. Not voting for Obama is all about integrity. To PUMAs, integrity matters.

  17. Eddie says:

    Obama strategist David Axelrod said this to Ben Smith over at Politico:

    Bill Ayers lives in his neighborhood. Their kids attend the same school. They’re certainly friendly, they know eachother, as anyone whose kids go to school together.

    Ayers’ son Malik is roughly my age (27), his son Zayd is three years older, and Rhodes Scholar Chesa Boudin, Ayers and wife Bernadine Dohrn’s foster son, is also roughly my age.

    I know this because I went to summer camp with Malik and Chesa when we were little boys, at Ramapo Country Day Camp right across the Hudson from New York City. Ayers held a teaching post at Columbia that year.

    Meanwhile, Obama’s daughters Sasha and Malia are 6 and 9, respectively.

    Unless 63 year-old Ayers and Dohrn, who is three years older, have much younger kids that I’m not aware of, I think Axelrod is mistaken about their kids going to the same school.

    Can anyone shed some light on this?

  18. […] is busy banning more people from his shitty blog […]

  19. Mike J. says:

    Yes, it appears to be true. I was apparently banned from Corrente (boldly shrill and all that) for “trolling”. My crime was to post a large number of respnses in a thread in a discussion with several other folks, some of whom resorted to calling me Evil. Evidently my crime was to defend McCain and Palin against Obama campaign talking points (i.e., lies), because I was the only one banned.

    Well, that was fun while it lasted. To paraphrase Sarah Barracuda, I am not here to make friends out of these “progressive” bloggers, especially if they complain of Kossack tactics one minute and apply them the next.

  20. Please, ‘myiq2xu’, please, come to the Teahouse of the Furious Buddha and comment away. I double dog dare you. And I swear that I will not edit or delete any of your precious musings as I’m sure they will only provide a rare grist for me to brew something special with.

    Winston Delgado

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