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The Expansionist
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Censorship by AOL. AOL's "comments moderation" has gotten out of hand. After I attempted to post a few comments to a story about Michele Bachmann blasting Michelle Obama for promoting breast feeding, I was apparently barred from even rating other people's comments. But AOL is so cowardly that instead of putting up an error message, "Your screen name is barred from commenting or voting here because of a comment that violated our terms of service. For more information or to appeal this decision, write to _@aol.com.", AOL puts up this cowardly and DISHONEST message: "We're sorry your rating could not be added due to technical problems." And if you try to add a comment, you get the DISHONEST message "We're sorry your comment could not be added due to technical problems."
Here are the comments I tried to post. At least two were actually posted. Then I was banned. Was the single word "insane" of Michele Bachmann over the line in the view of some anonymous, dictatorial moderator? "Insane" is not an obscenity or anything else that should be censored. There are insane people, and people who say insane things. AOL needs to be told to respect people's rights of free expression. I didn't call anyone on the comments board an "idiot" or a racial or other epithet. AOL needs to back off its censorship, or it will find that no one even reads its news stories or participates in a conversation that is abusively censored.
Mrs. Obama is NOT part of the Government, and what she expresses as a PRIVATE CITIZEN is her right to express. If a Conservative woman were criticized for expressing her opinions, the Radical Right would be up in arms about the violation of her First Amendment rights!
Perhaps Liberals should be very glad that Bachmann is so loud, shrill, and insane. It is Conservatives who should want her to shut up. The more she talks, the more Liberals are made.
And changes of the sort you speak to just happen, do they? Nobody has to talk about them or advocate them, right? People just make these choices on their own, without the problems being pointed out. No, no, no. We got into this pickle because of inattention and working parents who either aren't around or don't have time and energy to chase their kids outdoors or away from the computer or cellfone, and we aren't getting out of this mess until we bring attention to the problem and get parents to get off their butts and both teach good health habits and lead by example. That's all Mrs. Obama is trying to do.
Actually, fast food, tho convenient, is generally more expensive than food cooked from scratch. We trade money for time, and for a single person, fast food might actually make sense, rather than buying small portions (higher per pound than large packages) and spending a lot of time shredding, cutting, dicing, cooking, and cleaning up. But for a family, fast food generally makes very little economic sense except on special occasions.
Since AOL will not admit to censorship, it also doesn't tell you whether you are blocked for one day, two weeks, or forever. What a bunch of worthless bastards AOL's comments moderators are. The way around a block is to change to a different screenname, or Instant Messenger ID. But I see no reason anyone should have to do that. If AOL thinks something is over the line, they should have the good manners to point out the specific words they object to, and set a reasonable time limit on a block. Inexcusable stupidity is part of what has put AOL into serious financial difficulty. But instead of improving its service, and its manners, it somehow finds $315 million to buy The Huffington Post! Tend to your core business and you won't need to buy up anything but some more servers to provide faster connections to existing content. Again, we have a major corporation wasting hundreds of millions of dollars on an extraneous extravagance, in the mergers-and-acquisitions nonsense that achieves nothing for the public.
(The current U.S. military death toll in Iraq, according to the website "Iraq Coalition Casualties", is 4,436 — for Israel.)

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