On August 18, Time published an indirect appeal for Internet censorship by wringing its hands over online trolls.
Before going into what they got wrong, here’s what they did correctly. They rightly pointed out that many people — real life examples are in the article — can truly be hurt by reading negative or threatening comments about themselves.
Furthermore, there is a practice called doxxing — revealing personal data about an individual online — which is very serious. Such comments and data need censoring. They are being censored. I have never read any comments — and I’ve read tens of thousands since 2005 — which go that far.
Here’s what the article got wrong. Time clearly infers that conservatives are to blame for hateful comments. In some cases, that might be true. However, by and large, the most aggressive, foul and hurtful comments come from leftists.
Yesterday’s post, which discussed the Bernie-turned-Trump supporting Reddit moderator — now sacked — revealed two leftist moderators’ foul language, which was too offensive to reprint here.
People can look at any left-of-centre comment thread and find the most offensive and crudest accusations of conservatives. The same is true in the UK.
So, Time is largely wrong in hanging online incivility around the necks of conservatives.
The site is also wrong in saying trolling began with 2014’s Gamergate.
It took off in earnest in 2008 when the Obama campaign not only hired online trolls to verbally shoot down McCain/Palin supporters in comments sections but encouraged activists to insult Sarah Palin in the most vulgar way in public.
Paid trolls attract unpaid trolls, which made the 2008 discourse all the more disgusting.
In October 2008, at least four Democrat activists sported tee shirts that called the vice presidential candidate one of the worst words in the English language. That link has a photo and the story, both of which someone at a rally in Philadelphia emailed to Wake up Americans. I’m glad that page is still up so that I can share it with you eight years later.
The rest of this post has off-colour and crude language from Democrats. Be warned.
I shall heavily censor what the email said (emphases mine):
I was at a Sarah Palin event in Philadelphia, at the Park Hyatt Hotel – late Saturday afternoon (Oct. 11th). If you are easily grossed out by the “C” word, I am sorry. But as Andrea says below, if McCain supporters wore a shirt that said
[any number of highly insulting things about Obama, spelled out to give equivalency]
they would either be thrown off the premises, have their heads kicked in, or even be detained at the local police station (I know this for a fact: I just had on a McCain button at a recent Obama event and I didn’t think I was going to get out alive).
Sorry the picture is not clearer. But these four young people were right in front of the hotel. They have on the nicest shirts. There were worse. There was group as well carrying around a fake dead fetus – exclaiming that “abortion should have been the path for Bristol(?) Palin”. And quite a few smoke bombs, etc. etc.
I also had some nice words thrown at me.
There were about 500 organized protesters. And about 500 not so organized at this event. The police and hotel security and secret service were letting me all the way up to the hotel steps. In a few cases … a few protesters got into the lobby.
In my family, the “C” word is about as bad as you can get.
Was this reported on the Philadelphia News. No!. Was anyone outraged? No! All that was on the Philadelphia local news last night was: Obama was at several rallies in Philadelphia earlier in the day (but went home Saturday night to be with his children). Obama and Palin were in Philly on the same day. And was there any mention of Palin – No! In the Sports section of the local evening news at 11:00PM, they did mention that Palin was at the Philadelphia Flyers game “dropping the first (hockey) puck”. The guy said it with a smirk. Then he added that Sarah Palin WAS NOT going home to spend the evening with her children.
Oh, that’s rich, coming from an equal rights Democrat news presenter.
Around that same time, Michelle Malkin posted a round-up of the foul and violent threats made against Palin and anti-Bush events and websites. I’ll look at the anti-Bush items in a moment.
But, never mind that. Malkin cited two Democrats’ false accusations against Republicans:
Paul Krugman is trembling: “Something very ugly is taking shape on the political scene: as McCain’s chances fade, the crowds at his rallies are, by all accounts, increasingly gripped by insane rage…What happens when Obama is elected? It will be even worse than it was in the Clinton years. For sure there will be crazy accusations, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see some violence.”
Frank Rich decries “Weimar-like rage” and the “violent escalation of rhetoric.”
Then Malkin went into what leftists — today’s Democrats — had to say about Palin:
Let’s talk about “insane rage” and “violent escalation.”
This is insane rage — Madonna bashing Sarah Palin and shrieking “I will kick her ass:”
This is insane rage — Sandra Bernhard bashing Sarah Palin and cursing her head off with hate warping her crazed face:
Malkin points out from other resources that Democrat violence against Republicans — online and offline — actually started in 2004, when Bush was still in office.
The Obamedia diaper-wetters are gripped with fear over a few over-the-line catcalls at McCain-Palin rallies.
She follows that with a very long list of arrests of anti-Bush people in violent incidents, including (emphases in bold in the original, those in purple mine):
Gainsville, Fla., Democrat David P. McCally was charged with battery after he allegedly barged into a local GOP office, assaulted a cardboard cutout of President Bush, and punched a local Republican chairman in September 2004. (Credit: Alachua County Jail.)
In March 2004, Carol Lang, a campus secretary at City College in New York, reportedly assaulted a police officer trying to arrest unruly anti-war protesters. Police arrested Lang and charged her with second-degree assault, disorderly conduct, and obstructing governmental administration. (Credit: New York Police Department.)
Nathan Winkler of Tampa, Fla., was arrested and charged with aggravated stalking in March 2005 for allegedly terrorizing a mother who had a Bush-Cheney bumper sticker on her car. Click on the video here to listen to an excerpt of the mother’s frantic call to 911. Winkler reportedly had a handmade sign in his window that read, “Never forget Bush’s illegal oil war murdered thousands in Iraq.” (Credit: Tampa Police Department.)
In closing, Time‘s Joel Stein is mistaken. It would appear his appeal is for censorship of conservative views. However, he forgot or ignored the violence from Democrat candidates’ supporters.
It was true in 2004, became more widespread in 2008, continued in 2012 and is alive and well in 2016.
Censorship? Democrats should remove the plank from their own collective eye first.