At least twice now, the Democratic Underground has been the victim of gross misuse by the right. This may have been a topic before and I missed it, but it seems that one of the top people at DU should write a proposed column for the NY Times oped page, now expanded, and get hundreds of not thousands of DUers to sign it, and then send it in for publication.
One point that should clearly be made is that this is an OPEN forum, where anyone can express a view -- including quite a few rightwingers and freepers. It may be that the notion of the tsunami as a CIA conspiracy or of the pope as a Nazi are not the most refined of views, but they are expressed in many venues, such as callers into WBAI, and here at least they have a chance to be vetted and rationally debated and countered with facts.
Taking such comments out of context stifles the kind of free discussion forum that this is, and represents one of the many misuses of the internet as a forum in recent years. The notion of the internet as some kind of "authority", as cited by Sorensen and Baraka is part of the mythmaking that conservatives are here trying to exploit. There is also the issue that there are rightwing sites that utter the most unbelievable improbabilities AS PART OF THEIR OFFICIAL COMMUNICATIONS, like quoting Clinton, Jesse Jackson, Lenin and Che Guevara in the same breath, and these sites are considered respectable and never held up for ridicule -- because progressives don't have the kind of partisan access to the mainstream media to exploit to this end.
C-SPAN let's these people on like they're, uh, a credible organization -- and they say some of the most outrageous things. I actually had a personal communication with one of them, and he was a total know-nothing ASS.
I would write semi-long, intelligent letters, and he would write a three-line, misspelled, ad hominem-rife reply. And it wasn't just NRO that was publishing this idiot's columns -- he was actually employed by MSNBC as an "analyst" and, of course, was a big wig in the Bush I administration.
I was just stunned at how inarticulate and poorly informed this person was. I just thought, "Wow. So they're like this in person, too? What pathetic losers."
2. Is that the case? I had an obvious Republican tay they voted for Bush,
and DU should be shamed of talking about him, bla, bla. This was on a thread I had started. The point is- they were removed immediately. I thought one of the rules of DU is that it is a Democrat board. Look at the rules. I could be not understanding what they say.
because they will be excised if they are found out, but not if they toe a fine line, an unknown number of posters are simply walking that line to sow dissension (God forbid they try anything difficult) or instigate threads that start with a premise that makes more sense to their POV, and then they never return. These posters are ever so obvious by their fake names, usually using words like liberal or other cliches that dont fall frequently from the mouths of normal humans. My preference would be a more open debate, where they could be intellectually and spiritually stripped and beaten in public, but the disruptive tendencies and ugly habits outweigh these small pleasures considerably, and since they are clearly learning disabled its moot. The FR fascist wurlitzer of insanity will not permit, nor will the atmosphere sustain, intelligent life or compassionate concepts. Any number of thread topics here will draw these buzzards like flies to shit or vice versa- Michael Moore comes in at #1, gun control/NRA could work (put your buckteeth in here) "if'n they wasnt tuuuu smart for that, (remove), and they have Michael Moore to use as a substitute pinata anyway. Kennedy assassination anti-conspiracy "buffs" turn up for a stretch but never respond to real people's valid points or EVER address the pattern of assassinations in the 60's that simply put the lie to ye olde lone nut horseshit. Then there are probably some sincere "centrist" posters who really believe that someday, a conservative Democrat is going to steal all the real conservative votes AND the stolen votes that actually cost us elections. Who knows, maybe we do have honest elections. Think so? Ive got a real sweet bridge...
That is precisely the point. And if discussion is chilled by the fear that anything can and will be taken out of context and used against you with a rightwing that has access to the mainstream that we lack, democracy suffers. This point needs to be made in the mainstream media, where the quotes have been used, in a column written by those who run DU
Besides, the real issue isn't what we're saying...but that we're SAYING it at all, without THEIR spin or censure. They want to control everything...including 'dialogue' of ALL issues (so they can rewrite history on everything themselves). And that 'dialogue' they wish to control INCLUDES internet chat.
We're not to blame, though they'd like to blame us (or any site that has similar discussions)...so that eventually they can shut us down.
23. welcome to DU and please everyone, if you see a post that looks
suspicious hit the "Alert" key.
DU has moderators that follow up on any and all alerts sent by our members. With that being said, it can sometimes take some time for these alerts to be received and acted on, which is why you'll see some posts stay up a while. The moderators are volunteers and are not on line 24/7.
5. The corporate media is going to attack us no matter what we say
We could all express the kindest most gentle ideas and they would twist it around. But the American public is fickle. The best way to get your book sold is to get it banned. Let them trash us. So what. They are just afraid and when they fear you, you've won. When I was in the Navy the CNO came out and said don't read this book (it trashed him, Chaney and all his buddies). Guess what, most of the Navy ended up reading it just because they said not to.
People are too afraid of ideas and words. I know the corporate media is a propaganda machine for the right and the b*sh regime but expressing ideas is what is going to bring them down. They can't bear the fact that there are people out there thinking thoughts they have not promoted. DU is getting to them and they can't do anything to stop it because it would stop their propaganda machines as well.
The problem is that DU isn't being given the cachet of being 'banned' or a subject of great publicity -- it is being cited in an entirely unfair way to make it seem marginal, a place where only tin-foil hat ideas are discussed. This is done by the rightwing and taken up by the mainstream media. A response, at base, is at least MORE PUBLICITY, so WHY NOT??????
The occassions when it's being misused is actually good, because that means that some are afraid. It's actually surprising that a board of this size doesn't get more attention, because it's already clear that it is highly influencial.
You only see the posters here, but there are many more lurking - most without an account as well.
A year ago, this place was growing and hopping and getting a good share of mention across the net and even into the corporate media. These days I rarely hear DU mentioned...and not anywhere near I do other sites such as Kos, Atrios and Talking Points.
Several acquaintances I made here...former DU members and posters from a year ago no longer come here. Some got into flame wars, others found the fighting here to be a big turn off and have moved to those blogs and other message boards. What you see here is what you get.
I enjoy having discussions with Conservatives and Repugnicans...and I do so in other places...and can spot the buzzwords and trolls here quite easily these days, but that's to be expected. There are DU'ers who troll Freeperland and other right wing sites. Kinda what makes this wild world fun.
There have been lots of press mentions of DU across all media. Might not be the coveragae we want but we don't have an orchestrated PR campaign either and we're not into controlling any messages about DU.
DU is not the same as it was a year ago but it's hardly faltering! Whether or not you get into a flame war is a choice. I never get into them because I don't waste time on ideologues.
You can look at the glass as half empty or half full.
We've done great things on DU. I still get energy from it.
that not all are permitted here according to the rules. For example, openly-avowed Republicans are not (it's the DEMOCRATIC Underground, after all). Neither are "rightwingers" or "freepers" or homophobes.
NOT that this is a bad thing. After all, it affirms the right of freedom of association within a private space.
I too remember the thread you are referring to. Actually, a couple of years before there were similar threads about Bush utilizing his tectonic plate ray gun to cause the earthquake in Iran. These type of threads clearly do not reflect the thinking of most here, but they do occur.
24. Actually, there are several openly-avowed Republicans
who post on here. They are moderate or traditional Republicans who hate Bush and the current radical shift to the right, and who supported Kerry for the election, but Republicans nonetheless. Some of them even have it in their usernames, or state it in their profiles.
You just can't advocate for the election of Republican candidates, or for the current Republican agenda.
Also DU isn't exactly open to all: it is intended as a platform of discussion for democrats, about democratic issues. While RW-ers are allowed, they aren't allowed to discuss/propagate RW issues - if they do, they'll be banned. That's why RW misinformation operatives have to be careful not to go so far as to expose themselves for what they are. In the mean time they'll try and go far enough as to actually influence DU's public mind. That's not easy, and many fall through during their first few posts. Some are clever though, sometimes it can take years and many 1000's of posts before such an operative is exposed.
I say DU has no reason to be defensive. DU is successful. It works very well. Anyone who comes here can see that it's an open forum and judge accordingly. After only a quick look it's obvious there are a majority of well-informed, intelligent, committed posters here, and an amazing diversity of people. It's a virtual public square, filling a large need for communication and public reaction to issues.
A couple of comments taken out of context is no big deal. Potshots. Don't Take On The Fear--of being painted as marginal or kooky or whatever. This is a downtrodden mentality. This is letting the detractors define you.
I agree with the point that the Right has more access to the media than the Left and can use negative spin to greater advantage. That's what we need to work on. But there's not much that needs defending about DU--if and when there is, we can do that. We also have very savvy administrators who know what they're doing. No need to angst about PR or image. Save it for bigger issues and/or more major assaults on freedom of speech, which are not inconceivable in the current climate.
29. This is as open as you can get without falling into the hands
of rabid repukes. I've been to several "so called" left wing posting sights and found them infested with repukes yelling, insulting people, swearing and bashing all liberals. You couldn't post a liberal idea without being flamed. You couldn't have an intelligent discussion without weeding through hundreds of posts insulting and swearing at you. The few freepers who get in are quickly identified for their insults and are removed. I think if you were a freeper, you could stay on here as long as you didn't resort to the constant insulting and flaming the freepers seem to enjoy.
Democrats.com is a prime example of this principle. In the early days after the 2004 election I used to post there, but there were so many damn trolls and FReepers that I could not stand going there anymore. I had been lurking at DU for about a year and a half by this point, and decided to go ahead and register once I had my own URL and email address. One of the best choices I have ever made, because even though DU grates on my nerves from time to time it is THE PROGRESSIVE WEBSITE.
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