Spin 2.0

Posted by Tim Ireland at February 13, 2007

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

This entry was posted on
Tuesday, February 13th, 2007
at
11:06 am and is filed
under The Political Weblog Movement.

Iain Dale has an exciting new delivery mechanism!I managed to squeeze half an apology out of Iain Dale last night… but he refuses to admit to knowingly describing me as a nihilist. His defence is that he “(asked a guest) a question without realising what the word meant”.

Given Iain’s education, his constant exposure to this word in his immediate political circle (and on his own damn website) *and* his track record of directing arguments, I find this very, very hard to believe.

Speaking of directing arguments, there are several layers of spin – some old and some new – that are taking on a life of their own today (prime example here), and I invite you to watch them in action (and how they are delivered with this exciting new mechanism):

– This is a politically-motivated vendetta (conducted by Brownites or New Labour types)
– This is a personal vendetta with no real meaning (conducted by a mentally deranged individual)
– This is a vendetta that threatens to damage the blogosphere
– This is a vendetta of little importance
– All of the above (delivered under multiple pseudonyms, so there is little chance of contradicting oneself)

That first layer of spin is actually a multiple layer, as it also contains the message that the left fears the ‘natural dominance’ of the right in the blogosphere. This ignores several years of blogging history and glosses over the fact that the current dominance of the right is merely the result of the dishonest approach to blogging that this so-called ‘war’ is meant to highlight.

You’ll also want to keep a sharp eye out for the ‘if you think this is bad, wait until the next election’ line, as I’ve made it perfectly clear from the very beginning that it’s important we arrest this recent decay of blogging ethics long before this happens.

An example:

If you run a weblog that contains a significant level of political discussion, you really should have some form of comment registration in place or be ready to moderate your arse off. If you don’t do either, you lay fertile ground for anonymous bullies who seek to limit free speech by undermining and intimidating those they don’t agree with (while simultaneously screaming about their right to free speech).

No matter where you stand politically, if you allow the above on your website and/or are irresponsible enough to actively use it to your advantage, the only thing you really prove every time you ‘win’ is that you are afraid to conduct an open and honest debate. This does not indicate a significant level of confidence in your political beliefs.

Also, let’s be honest… if you dismiss a valid charge as a ‘smear’ and then hide behind a barrage of vitriolic smears directed against the person who made that charge, you come off looking like a bit of a dickhead.

Finally, if you allow anonymous bullies to regularly have their way, you only encourage more of the same:

The bastards get bolder. The expand their operations. They move from victim to victim and sets their sights ever-higher each time. At the same time, those in the direct employ of the major parties take notice and make their plans to lay their own astro-turf on this same fertile ground.

This is what is going on right now, and at the centre of the storm are the websites of Iain Dale and Paul de Laire Staines (aka ‘Guido Fawkes’).

Staines uses many of the above techniques, but – most importantly – he also does not allow a ‘right of reply’ on his website. (I say ‘website’ because the moment you forbid meaningful interaction with the content you publish, you no longer have the right to describe your set-up as a ‘weblog’.)

And speaking of Staines and the quaint notion of ‘right of reply’…

On Sunday, I linked to and highlighted a particular aspect of an event from his past.

What you’re hearing right now from the spinners is that it was withdrawn, so it must not be true. It’s a desperate gambit (possibly backed an funded by the leftist establishment) who fear Guido’s power to tear away the veil of yadda yadda yadda blah blah blah.

Not so.

Under the circumstances, I was perfectly happy to meet with Staines’ demand that I remove all reference to the article in question, as his demand showed him to be a total hypocriteagain.

As I said on that same day; “I personally found the reaction to the content to be far more illuminating than the content itself”.

That’s not to say that the article doesn’t contain relevant and revealing information. It does. In fact, my intention was to publish it myself on Monday afternoon and (again) highlight the most relevant aspect, but I’m waiting.

Why?

Because I want to watch the man behind ‘Guido Fawkes’ enjoy the luxury of being able to *lead* with his ‘right of reply’.

In the meantime, I’m happy to sit back and watch the acolytes of Dale and Staines continue to ride their banthas in single file… as the way they conduct themselves is equally illuminating.








2 Comments

  1. Bob Piper says

    Spot on wth the advice about moderation, Tim. I was quite happy to have some gentle banter with Tory commenters until they decided to let the dogs out. Then they descend like packs of dogs.My current comment policy allows people to say anything they want as long as it is not racist, homophobic etc and does not contain gratuitous swearing… but also, they cannot be openly abusive to other commenters or myself and expect space on my blog. I challenge Iain Dale to adopt the same policy, but he won't… so why?

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