I read an excellent article the other day written by Paul Sutliff, Assistant Editor and Contributor at the Brenner Brief, titled, CNN Bias Will Find Missing PING Fish. Due to the historic nature of CNN’s biased reporting, the article was quite humorous and tragic, as the author chose to call attention to their creative license.
While I enjoyed the article, that is not the reason for this post. Following the article, as with most articles, there was the comment section. Preceding that was a Disclaimer.
I am not easily shocked when reading something on the net, especially if it comes from a Modern Liberal but this site was not left wing, so the text left me wondering how I should respond, or even if I would. I pondered it for several minutes before making a decision. I finally decided to make a brief, no pun intended, response about the disclaimer and the article and how it crafted my opinion of the site.
Your anti-free speech disclaimer dissuades people from commenting. The article was great. Your site? Not so much. I won’t be sharing it.
I am not easily offended, as my conversations with some of the more colorful people on Twitter will show, but this disclaimer actually offended me. I will break down my perception of the disclaimer a little later in this post.
My comment must have hit a nerve, possible from the disclaimer’s author, because I got a response from the moderator, SMBrenner.
“If your version of free speech is swearing and personally attacking folks, this probably isn’t the site for you. Any other discourse is welcomed.”
Needless to say, this was not the response I was expecting. In fact, I didn’t think I would get a response at all. Here’s the bottom line, Sara Marie Brenner. If you limit someone’s speech, then it’s not free, is it? There was only one other comment so perhaps it’s not getting much attention or others chose to not “engage” in the comments because the “personal attacks” will be subject to your interpretation. You said, “any other discourse is welcomed.” Apparently not, because you felt the need to respond. I didn’t swear nor did I attack anyone. I left my “welcomed” opinion.
I still had the original post on my Twitter feed so I also commented briefly there.
As you can see, it explains why I have chosen to write this article. I could care less what someone’s “rules” are on their site and while I may disagree and even voice my opinion as to why, I respect their right to set their own rules, as they should respect my choice to either agree or disagree. I leave it up to you, the reader, to determine if I, or Brenner, were over the top. I respectfully appreciate all comments.
This is my analysis of the Brenner disclaimer.
First, here’s my disclaimer. (O:=
I enjoyed Paul’s writing style but I can easily leave anything/anyone out of principle. I may revisit brennerbrief.com in the future, I may not. However, regardless of how you view this post, I ask that you make up your own mind re: their site. That is the only article I read on the site as it was my first visit and this post is not meant to persuade or dissuade you. As I mentioned earlier, this post is in response to the limitations of Twitter, so that I may fully express myself. I stated I did expect a response on Twitter, but I expected to see something similar to, “Thank you for visiting our site. I am sorry you felt the disclaimer was too harsh and would hope you would consider revisiting our site in the future.” I would have also been OK with no response at all. That being said, if you are familiar with their site and enjoy it, please don’t let this post dissuade you from visiting as I am sure you are probably already aware of the disclaimer in question. If you are not familiar with their site, and if Paul’s articles, or those of his peers, are of the same quality, then I urge you to check them out, especially the “PING” article as I’m sure you will agree, it is well written, humorous and to the point re: CNN’s propaganda.
I will break down each part of the disclaimer to show how it affected me, and how it played out in my head, with drama. (O:=
“The opinions mentioned in this column do not reflect the beliefs of Brenner Brief News, Sara Marie Brenner (Editor-In-Chief), Andrew Brenner, other writers or the editorial team. They are the opinions of the author only, and should be attributed to the author only — no one else.”
Really? Wow! You post an article from one of your own contributing authors, not to mention one of your eight asst. editors, and then disavow any connection to your site? It’s not like you referenced something written somewhere else, by someone not associated with you.
“If you disagree or agree with the story, you may engage in civil discourse in the Comments section below the story.”
Is that a tautological statement? So, if I ‘disagree’ or I ‘agree’ with the story, THEN and ONLY THEN, can I “engage” in “civil discourse” in the comments section? How about if I really haven’t passed judgment but want to comment? Am I forbidden? Since when does it require a conclusion on my part of an article to comment on it? It’s not like I’m just spamming about how much my cousin made in a week, online, without effort, while giving birth, eatin’ a sammich during a full rewrite of War and Peace.
“Swearing and personal attacks will not be tolerated in the Comments section of this website.”
Here we go again. If you feel the need to define, “civil discourse”, why the redundancy?
“Those who engage in such behavior will be marked as spam and banned.”
Oh, so not being civil “IS” spamming. Really? I thought that nonsense was only on Liberal sites, like Facebook and Twitter. Facebook, you can ONLY like something. You can’t dislike, hate, love, abhor, despise or feel absolutely giddy. Twitter restricts you to blocking or spam blocking and you can favorite but you can’t ‘care less’ or just tag it for review by others without stating it’s one of my ‘favorites.’
Only SPAM is SPAM. If you want to ban someone, then do that. If you don’t like the post, delete it. Flagging it as SPAM and then banning someone because they spammed, when they didn’t, is what happens on Liberal sites. Don’t try to be Liberal if you’re not. They’re better at it. If you are limited to banning someone because you must flag them as SPAM, then learn to write code and stop using Liberal comment apps. You could also probably flag people that all their posts must be moderated, once the violate the “civil discourse” policy.
“Should you believe a story should be edited or adjusted, please click on ‘Contact Us’ at the top of the page to inform us of your concern.”
On Twitter, Sara Marie Brenner stated they had issues with Liberals in the past. I fully understand and sympathize but threatening to classify someone as a spammer for violating your rules is not a recipe for success.
Paul Sutliff, the author of the article, also felt the need to respond on Twitter, bless his heart. He made a valid comment and I responded, had it been as he described, implying word for word, I wouldn’t have said anything about it. He then suggested I must have a reading comprehension disability because I “should read it again.”
To me, here’s the bottom line. I disagree with the “wording” of the disclaimer. I think it’s too negative, on what may be a worthwhile site to frequent. I may not have been as cordial as I could have been in my original comment but felt I responded in kind with the disclaimer.
My “welcomed” opinion was not as welcome as suggested. Sara Marie Brenner’s response was basically, if you want to be an asshole, get lost. She never tried to “engage” in a civil discourse or offer to take if offline to discuss. However, if you’re not getting a lot of traffic, especially on an article that well written, perhaps you might want to consider softening your approach?! If you are getting traffic, but not many comments, which would show popularity, perhaps you may want to investigate why.
Neither Sara Marie Brenner nor Paul Sutliff ever thanked me for visiting or thanked me for stating, twice, both on their site as well as Twitter, that I thought the article was great. All the attention was focused on the negative part of my response. That’s unfortunate.
I may not want to have the disclaimer thrown in my face at the end of each article but do yourself a favor and at least read this article of Paul’s. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as much as I did, unless of course you’re a uncivilized Liberal.