You know what scares me? Media censorship.
I think back several years ago when there was an article online about a family whose baby died after being left in the car. We happened to know this family, and we knew how utterly devastated they were. However, in the comments on the article, it was full of things like, “I’ll bet they did it on purpose!” and “What idiots.” No sympathy. No compassion. I thought to myself, “Really? Nobody is offering support to these people?” So I popped on to comment in their defense, asking people to show some sensitivity in their time of loss, and vouching for the fact that it was definitely not done on purpose. Much to my surprise, my comment was deleted. I thought it must have been a technical glitch, so I tried again on another computer. Same thing happened. The news source was intentionally trying to make it appear that these people were nothing but hated, and that they were under suspicion for purposefully killing their child. Despicable, in my opinion.
The Mormon church has also gotten a lot of media attention as of late. Comments on any article mentioning the church inevitably become overloaded with anti-Mormon dialogue. An article I read recently was open for comments for about an hour. Then, it was closed for commenting and the majority of comments speaking positively of Mormons or defending the church were removed. Is this right? What kind of society have we become? Whenever I read any news online and see that the comments seem to be one-sided, I take them with a grain of salt and recognize that they probably only APPEAR to be one-sided, because that’s what that particular news outlet wants you to see. People are being manipulated, and many of them probably don’t even know it. To quote the movie “The Prestige,” are you watching closely?
It’s for this reason that I don’t reject/delete blog comments, even if I disagree. If someone comments on my blog and says something I don’t like, I prefer to discuss it rather than pretend their words don’t exist. (Though I might have to delete if someone was being particularly vulgar or obscene!) In my opinion, deleting a comment because you don’t like what’s being said is pretty childish. It’s the same as saying, “No! You’re not allowed to disagree or question me. My words are more valid than yours!” What’s the point of even allowing comments if you’re only going to allow the ones that validate you? Is it just there for a personal ego boost? I feel like people need to start using banners that say, “Anyone who disagrees with me will be deleted” or “I only want to hear what you say if you’re praising me.” I know many bloggers out there have a minimal censorship policy, and to you I say thank you.
Do any of you have a censorship story to share? I’m curious if anyone else has had something happen like the first experience I mentioned.