Tuesday, August 4, 2010
2:50 PM CST

Thom Hartmann
Portland, Oregon

Dear Thom,

See below petition a group of us have drafted. We thought you may have an interest in signing up. We will be publishing it soon. You can contact me for any questions at : old world gallery at hotmail dot com (In the usual e-mail text format).

James Ballard



The following signatories below, representing fans and posters to the online Huffington Post wish to petition HP on the matter of ongoing abuses of both HP policy and the principles of open democratic civil discourse.

Now and in the course of the following months, we will publish numerous incidents of arbitrary and ongoing censorship at the Huffington Post. Our main concern is a pattern of censorship extending far beyond the parameters of Huffington Post's moderation policies. We are documenting these incidents of censorship by both moderators and, more alarmingly, by authors as they occur. [Feel free to examine deleted posts at : http://bannedfromhuffpo.blogspot.com/ ]

Countless posts from many signatories below have been arbitrarily censored at HP by authors who simply disagree with a poster. We find this type of censorship the most corrosive to what is supposed to be an open dialogue. History tells us that in the course of any public discourse, when censorship is allowed to rule the order of events, honesty and integrity are abandoned and all that remains is propaganda.

Another pattern we would like to mention is the inherent bias generated by the newly implemented "community moderator" process. Posters are "rewarded" with an artificially imposed system of "earned badges". We believe the introduction of this new "badge" system stifles open discussion and rewards disruptive behavior from posters who wish to impose their own bias and thus arbitrarily attempt to censor others. This sort of dated Skinnerian "reward" system defeats open discussions, pitting one poster against another, thus alienating other new posters who would like to join in and contribute to the discussion. We believe that this superficial "merit" system only compounds further the ongoing censorship already endemic on the HP blog.

We would like to address another form of censorship, more subtle than the above noted. While much deference is given to "Religion", compounded by a new column addition of "Religion and Science", we note there is no tribute of equal status given to the sciences. Though we are thrilled to see the "Arts" granted an elevated independent column, it would seem only fair to give the sciences equal recognition. Without science, there would be no online "Huffington Post", no Internet and no computers to support them. The failure to give the Sciences an independent forum, while treating "Religion" with such broad stroke deference, is about the most regressive act of dummying down public education as we can imagine. Everyday millions of viewers use scientific innovations to read the Huffington Post while, by the same token, no independent forum is granted to science. This at a time when great marvels such as Hubble, the Large Hadron Collider, and the Human Genome Project daily reveal new insights into our world.

There is a crisis in what passes for a free press in the American society today. That crisis manifests itself by a 24 hour barrage of op-eds and word pundits by news "guests" and "news" anchors passing themselves off as "journalists". When rewarded by excessive corporate compensation, these "journalists" are only too eager to sell off their academic training to a corporate agenda of ratings for advertising profit. The Internet seemed to present a more responsible alternative to this trend. The Huffington Post seemed to be the vanguard of a new alternative media that would be more interactive and open. Instead, as evidenced by its current actions, the Huffington Post seems determined to follow the same old corporate party line : Hypnotize and titillate the public with entertainment fluff to generate advertising.

We have arrived at the end of the first decade in the first century of a new millennium. Rather than inviting an entire culture to regress, we contend that the Huffington Post could become a healthy and inspirational standard bearer for further advancement into a new age of Progress and Enlightenment.

We contend that the Huffington Post should recognize its responsibility to its readership and future generations. We ask that the Huffington post resume the agenda it set out it 2005 : To assume a more progressive leadership role, free from censorship, guided by temperance and true knowledge that reflects the more enlightened and educated sector of our culture.

We the undersigned would be willing to help achieve that end.

James Ballard


hal tapkins's picture
hal tapkins 9 years 24 weeks ago

Domestic Environment Movement Corps

Put people to work, weatherize buildings, rebuild our infrastructure to prepare for the green jobs, clean up the oil spills. Why doesn't our president form a Domestic Environment Movement Corps

People will be trained for the new economy, unemployment rates will fall, newly hired people will have money to spend, tax revenues will increase, consumer demand will rise helping the business community. (Dems will do better in November)

This seems like such an obvious (Roseveltian?) solution--what am I missing?

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