July 14, 2009

This saddens me. Anyone who has ever blogged knows that there are the occasional commenters who post things that embarrass us. If a blog in question has a commenting policy that forbids racist, abusive, violent, or otherwise inappropriate comments, we at Crooks and Liars don't make an issue of it if, on a blog we disagree with, some commenter slips through their gate with a comment that violates those policies.

We also know that some right-wing blogs, namely Michelle Malkin and her Hot Air brigade, run through our comment threads regularly looking for comments that might embarrass us. That's not the reason for our policy, we simply have standards.

When this Free Republic "spokesman" is given an opportunity to distance himself and the blog from some ridiculous comments that he and the blog were not initially responsible for, he instead uses his fifteen seconds of fame to exclaim that the left wing blogs "have no standards." Really.

And it's not like we can't prove him wrong. Crooks and Liars has a comment policy, and sitemonitors checking the threads regularly, as well as technology in place that specifically bans use of certain highly offensive words.

Daily Kos has policies in place and their readership and front-pagers take responsibility for removing comments that are offensive. I laughed when I saw that the Kos comment policy singles out certain individuals:

The exception to the normal troll rating golden rule of "rate the comment, not who makes it" is for people so disruptive to the community that they need to be quickly autobanned. This is a very difficult threshold to reach, and is reserved almost entirely for freepers or other trolls here only to disrupt.

Heck, sorry to give them a link, but even RedState has a comment policy. And Free Republic posts this disclaimer: "Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management." Okay then. Why not point that out to David Schuster, distance yourself from the racist slurs that appeared (and according to Schuster, re-appeared?) at your site, and take advantage of the free publicity to show your blog is represented by a classy, intelligent, and responsible Net Citizen?


David N.: Free Republic has had this problem many times in the past, and it has generally been good about taking the most hateful material down promptly. However, according to Raw Story, these comments were kept live on the site for more than a day.

The Freeper spokesman in the video heatedly denied that the comments went back up, but it's worth noting the exchange reported by Chris Parry of the Vancouver Sun, whose reportage on this has been the subject of the ensuing side controversy/red herring about whether he acted as an agent provocateur. Whether true or not, if his reportage on Robinson's initial response is accurate, it's fairly damning:

After attention from other blogs, the thread was suppressed and placed under review, but before long it was returned to the site intact, and attracted a new series of racial slurs when the original complaint email was posted publicly to the site, with the sender's email address intact.

"The writer has a point," wrote site owner Jim Thompson sarcastically. "We should steer clear of Obama's children. They can't help it if their old man is an American-hating Marxist pig."

"I agree Jim," wrote commenter, by the nickname NoobRep. "The kids didn't pick their commie pinko pansy of a father. Nor did they choose to be put into the spotlight. But Obama/Soetoro is fair game and so is his witch of a wife."

"Poor kids. I hope they're not 'punished with a baby'," wrote another. "Hopefully they won't deal cocaine like the Kenyan."

"DIRTBAGS! All of them. Our [White House] is now a joke to the rest of the world. We have no respect and this is not going to turn out well, mark my words. We will be hit, and much worse than last time. We are now seen as weak and vulnerable. Ghetto and Chicago thugs have taken over."

Only after significant negative attention from a host of left wing political blogs did the maintainers of the Free Republic site place the thread under review for a second time, before finally pulling it.

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