a previous post, I was banned from commenting at David Horowitz's Newsreal site, not by Horowitz, but by one of his foot soldiers, one David Swindle, former liberal and Obama supporter. Swindle was upset with me for my criticisms of him and one of his columnists, due to an unfair article impugning the integrity of Robert Stacy McCain. We had a vigorous debate on Newsreal, and at the time I opined that neither Swindle nor his columnist (a "pagan conservative") were fit to represent Newsreal. I still stand by that opinion.
Swindle disingenuously claims that he banned me for "being uncivil," this after his columnist insulted McCain, then his readers and me personally, likening us to the mindless followers of Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs. Pagan stated that I was the "Kilgore Trout" of McCain, using insult rather than facts or logic to justify his hit piece on McCain. Who was being uncivil to whom?
I sent a complaint to David Horowitz via a comment form at his major website, telling him that I was disappointed in David Swindle, with a short summary of the facts (including the sliming of R.S. McCain), and Swindle's vengeance by banning me. The next morning I received an email from Swindle stating that I would be given "a second chance" at commenting, but if I were again uncivil (that is, by his subjective definition of the term), the ban would be reinstated.
I politely told David Swindle to shove it. I will not be reading or commenting at Newsreal, as long as Swindle is involved with the site. The reasons are these:
1. Swindle is dishonest and in denial about his culpability in the dispute that he and his columnist created;
2. I was not "uncivil" by any reasonable definition of the term, though I was probably not terribly polite after being called names by the columnist (e.g. "Kilgore Trout").
3. Swindle banned me, not for "incivility," but for disagreeing with his position on the columnist's article and for opining that neither he nor the columnist should represent Newsreal, for the reason that they start ruinous blog wars with prominent pundits on the right, merely so they can posture as enlightened "liberal conservatives."
4. My commenting at any of Horowitz's sites is more valuable to Horowitz than it is to me -- it is a way of supporting the site by offering informed commentary and opinion on the articles posted there. By taking away my commenting rights, Swindle is merely removing a voice of support for David Horowitz.
5. If commenting is a "privilege," then is my favorable reviews of Horowitz books at Amazon also a "privilege," or is it moral and strategic support of Horowitz and his operations? And if it is the latter, who is hurt by taking it away, me or Horowitz? The same analogy applies to my links and articles supporting Horowitz and my rebuttals of unfavorable book reviews and anti-Horowitz comments at various online forums.
Allowing people to comment is a necessary feature that proves people actually visit and read the site. It is not the website that bestows favor on the commenters, but the opposite. Comments are evidence of interest, visitors and support. And that is why Swindle's myopic view is back asswards: by arbitrarily suspending comments from Horowitz supporters who reasonably disagree on a particular article or position, he erodes the credibility of the site and destroys both reader loyalty and reader support.
In summary, my disagreement with David Swindle is not about commenting rights at Newsreal or any other site -- it is over Swindle's tactless immaturity and disrespect for other conservatives, his unwelcoming and inhospitable attitude at Newsreal, and his inability to admit his errors and to apologize for them.
Now I'm done.