Censorship: A Failed Policy
Apparently there is a sense, justified or not, that posts to what seems like the most popular local blog are being deleted for purely ideological reasons. Rose’s WatchPaul blog has a thread where people can post comments they claim were censored by “Heraldo”. I am of 2 minds about this issue: 1) Any blogger should have the right to delete any post. A blog is designed to present a personal point of view. It’s not designed to be a public forum that protects the right of anyone to post anything. I delete spam and irrelevant posts and reserve the right to delete excessively profane or obscene posts; 2) Deleting posts of dissenting views is self-defeating. What you want in a blog is traffic and discussion. Controversy is good. It gives you a wider audience. You still retain control of the subject of each post and you can comment on the comments.
So, while I believe bloggers have the right to delete whatever they want, I also believe that deleting opposing comments is stupid. I don’t know yet whether the charges made at Rose’s blog are accurate in this specific case. But in general I believe a blogger risks credibility and opportunity by deleting dissenting posts.
As the Times-Standard pointed out today, there are people stealing political signs of all kinds, left and right. Apparently, this is not uncommon, but the incidents seem to be increasing quite a bit. This is the most stupid type of censorship born out of ignorance and fear. It also accomplishes nothing. The act changes no minds, in fact probably reinforces the positions of the victims and their friends.
As a personal example we had an Obama for President sign stolen from our front yard. My wife put up another sign in our window and I dare someone to enter our house and try to remove it. This stupid little act of censorship made me angry enough to join her in a phone campaign to call undecided voters in swing states to encourage them to vote for Obama. By the way, the results of our little campaign has so far indicated that many of the voters targetted as undecided by the Obama campaign have already become decided. They are voting for Obama.