Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Management at Hot Air...

Others are noticing the problem of anti-Catholicism in Hot Air's comboxes. Donald McClarey, Jay Anderson, and Cranky Conservative all have threads on the subject and there's some interesting discussion in their comboxes.

One question that has been raised is the degree to which management is culpable. As I said in my first post on this subject, bloggers aren't always responsible for the content of their comments. However, when hateful comments are deleted towards one religion and not another, that's a problem. What bothers me the most, however, is the stupidity of creating an environment given over to ranters who drive away Catholic conservtives at an otherwise mainstream conservative blog.

Jay Anderson suggests that the problem of Hot Air's comments begins with Michelle Malkin. He points to this post by Michelle criticizing "Catholic elites" for their statements on immigration policy.

Michelle Malkin has done many posts on the Pope and she seems to have an admiration for Ratzinger and JP2. I've long wondered whether she is Catholic, and I've admired her for a long time. If you look at the history of her posts, I think that her post on immigration policy is the first time she's said anything remotely critical of the Church. However, her comments on that, while aggressive, may not cross the line. In particular, I think she was reacting towards Cardinal Mahoney, and as we all know there's much criticism that can be directed at him.

Additionally, Michelle Malkin has been the subject of many hateful leftist attacks and slurs. She has been blogging for a long time and probably has built up a very thick skin towards hateful attacks in general. It's likely that she may see the anti-Catholic posts as just part of the nature of internet commenting and may think that there's little that can be done about them.

Ed Morrissey is Catholic and as I've noted, tries to police the comments at Hot Air by mistakenly engaging the bigots instead of banning them. He can't be there all the time. Allahpundit is an atheist and he has said that he enjoys "a good religious food fight in the comments" (as seen in this thread from today). Some people think that Allahpundit is setting the tone for the anti-Catholic comments. However, I think it's more likely that, like Michelle Malkin, both he and Ed Morrissey are veteran bloggers who might think that hateful comments are just part of the nature of blogging and cannot be avoided entirely. Additionally, they might think that it's too much effort to police their blog. Although I've been focused on Hot Air's comments, a cursory examination of Michelle Malkin's blog shows that the same problem exists.

However, I have no doubt that Michelle Malkin would not permit hateful posts towards her in her comments. The comments policy in her blog and on Hot Air expressly state that comments can be deleted. And as I've noted, Hot Air has banned people for posting hateful attacks towards Islam. So this is not a situation where there is a resistence to censor and that completely free speech is the policy. Commentors are guests at those blogs. This is a problem that can be solved with effective policing. Over time, the bigots become well known and they can be ejected from the blog. Michelle can hire another blogger to do the dirty work of policing her comments in her various blogs.

In the meantime, like Michelle who posts hateful emails to expose them to the world, I'll continue to provide excerpts of Hot Air's comment problem. It would be nice to be able to contribue to political discussion on a blog without having to constantly defend your religion. It would be nice to have religious discussions where people are respectful towards differences. Ultimately, the problem isn't Hot Air's management, but an anti-Catholic undercurrent that is prevelent in conservativism that needs to be execised. I'll have more on that later. And I'll have more on why it is just stupid to allow a well known conservative blog like Hot Air to be known for this.

However, one question for those who have followed this issue - should I change the label of "Hot Air Bigots" to something else? It's aggressive, but then again, that's what I'm all about.


Tito Edwards said...


A very well written post reflecting on the bigotry emanating from the comboxes of Hot Air.

Maybe AllahPundit and Michelle Malkin will take notice and review their policies.

Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Definitions of bigot:

biased; strongly prejudiced; forming opinions without just cause

a prejudiced person who is intolerant of any opinions differing from his own

blindly and obstinately attached to some creed or opinion and intolerant toward others.

You, Donald and Tito throw around the term easily in order to not have to debate people who are critical of some things the Catholic church has done. But I don't see how criticism of the Catholic church means someone is a bigot.

And by the way, you seem to be a bigot yourself with this comment you wrote:

"Liars and slanderers of Catholicism are almost always pro-choice"

You can pretend you are aggressive, but you're not. You and Donald don't even have the balls to explain why you think my comments were bigoted.

Tito Edwards said...


If calling a person of color the n-word is considered an 'opinion' then you and I live in two separate worlds when the first response in a debate is to call priests pedophiles.

Anonymous said...

No one wrote n*gger on Hot Air, and I don't see any comments on Hot Air where the first response was to call priests pedophiles. If you've got examples, please show them.

Anonymous said...

It's ironic. I spent the last 8 years defending Bush's evangelical faith when liberals (both Catholic and secular) derided him as an ignorant "fundie." Like the late Fr. Neuhaus, I still believe Catholics and evangelicals who are our brothers and sisters in Christ are great allies in the pro-life movement. That's why it's very disheartening to realize that there is still truth to that old stereotype about narrow-minded Catholic-hating bigots, who refuse to see us as fellow Christians.

They are every bit as illogical and self-defeating as the secular Jews who fear Christians like Palin more than they fear the anti-Semites on the left. Quite apart from their uncharitability, it's boneheaded in the extreme to alienate and insult your potential allies in the culture war at a time when the left is ascendent.

BTW, Sydney Carton, it is good to find you on the internet. I remember your thoughtful posts back in what seems like the very old days (not long after 9/11) on LGF, when LGF was much smaller and primarily concerned with Islamic terrorism instead of Intelligent Design. So I am happy I followed Donald McClarey's link to your site.

Donna V.

Sydney Carton said...

Thanks Donna. I hardly ever post at LGF anymore because it's gotten so big and it's different than what it used to be.