Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Have Disrespect * Do Bad : Angry Commenters on This Blog

Anyone can become angry. That is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose and in the right way - that is not easy.

Yesterday I had my first angry commenters on what seemed like an innocuous post about women speaking at the Green Festival:

Will Joan Blades also tell her audience how Jews control the media, Jews manipulate U.S. foreign policy, the Jews and/or Bush blew up the World Trade Center on 9/11, and African-American soldiers are all potential mutineers who should be segregated and disarmed?

Every single one of the above positions were stated at MoveOn's Action Forum, and they received overwhelming approval from the other participants.

More at today's Washington Times


Eli Pariser of MoveOn.Org told Mr. Foxman of the ADL that the MoveOn.Org forum was open to anyone and that they didn't control the posts. This is a lie.

Back in April, 2004, I complained on the Forum and in letters to MoveOn.Org that they were allowing anti-Semitism. (Note: saying Jews control the media is not anti-Israel, it is anti-Semitic.)

So, what happened? My posts were erased and I was banished. The anti-Semitic posts and posters were allowed to stay.

So, if you like anti-Semitism, support MoveOn.Org and accept support from MoveOn.org.

I was humored and saddened. Humored because it's not like this blog is Talking Points Memo and the idea that someone took the time to vent their anger here seemed like misplaced advertising--like trying to sell bikinis in Antarctica. Last week I wrote about Blogging for Chickens and Halloween candy. We're just not that hard core here.

What saddened me was the tone. It would be pretty exciting to have more discussion on Have Fun * Do Good, but only if it is written in a respectful tone. I've created Have Fun * Do Good to be a respite from the negative news we hear most of the time. If readers want to challenge some of the stories here and reveal the dark side of do * good ventures, I welcome it whole-heartedly, those stories are important to hear, but please do so with respect.

Every argument has two sides. To get the other side of this one, I emailed my friend Ilyse Hogue, who is the Campaign Director for MoveOn.org. Here was her response:

MoveOn's ActionForum is an open forum. Anyone can post comments and many of the comments identified were not, in fact, made by MoveOn members.

MoveOn removed the comments as soon as they come to our attention.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) welcomed the responsiveness of MoveOn. ADL believes the matter has been resolved satisfactorily [link is mine].

Anti-Semitism is a serious charge. Six out of the eight members of MoveOn's executive team are Jewish, and we are personally very aware of the ongoing reality of anti-Semitism. We also know that fabricating charges of anti-Semitism as a political smear does real damage to the cause of tolerance, because it undermines the credibility of those who identify anti-semitism where it does occur, and reduces our collective ability to combat it.
Whew. I'm tired now. I'm going to go back to looking for some have fun * do good stories for y'all for tomorrow and leave you with this quote:
Respect for ourselves guides our morals; respect for others guides our manners.
--Lawrence Sterne
Photo credit: Sad Puppy by Geoff Stearns.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:55 PM

    Ms. Bravo,

    Aristotle was right. If I did not fulfill my responsibility to make it clear that my anger and outrage are directed solely and exclusively at MoveOn.org as opposed to your blog, that is my fault and I apologize.

    I think you can understand, though, why I might be an angry (with MoveOn.org) commentator. Hate speech tends to evoke anger from every decent person and especially those against whom it is directed. What MoveOn's people did went beyond poor-taste Jewish jokes and Negro jokes. Their statements were intended to evoke hatred of Jews and contempt for Black people. That is neither having fun nor doing good.

    Perhaps MoveOn.org also owes you and the Green Festival an apology.


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