Bob Seay

Mob Rule at The Denver Post

The Denver Post’s civility policy for its online forums is anything but civil. It is an online version of mob rule, where opinions are weighed not for accuracy or merit but by how well they conform to the demands of the Right Wing Thought Police.

On December 13, the Denver Post ran a story about the surprising Democratic victory over Republican pedophile Roy Moore in Alabama. The Post story quoted Cory Gardner’s statement, “I hope Senator-elect Doug Jones will do the right thing and truly represent Alabama by choosing to vote with the Senate Republican Majority.”

I replied to this story in the Comments section following the article. This is what I wrote:

Gardner believes that Alabama is “really” a Republican state and that the majority of Alabamans are Republicans; therefore, the new Senator should behave like a Republican. By that logic, Trump should behave like a Democrat, since he lost the election by 3 million votes. 3 Million votes would seem to say that America is actually a Democratic nation. The Senate should also “do the right thing” and pass Democratic policies. There were 39 million people who voted for Republican members of Congress, compared to 45 million who voted for Democrats. If Gardner is so concerned about “doing the right thing”, then he should support legislation that the majority of America wants, like gun control, healthcare, climate protection, Net neutrality, and other issues where Republicans are out of step with America. Gardner and the Republicans have never cared about “doing the right thing.” They don’t even care about representing voters. They only care about their donors and their own careers.

The Denver Post uses a system that asks readers whether a post is “Civil.” There doesn’t seem to be any computer algorithm involved in this judgement. It is a simple vote of Post readers who happen to be online at the time.

My comment “was rated below the civility threshold for publication” and was deleted. Apparently, the people who were online at the time were Republicans.

I am not angry that my comment was deleted. I have been deleted or blocked from forums before. My own Congressman, Ken Buck, blocked me from his Facebook page and deleted my comments shortly after he came into office. My comments magically reappeared after an article I had written about his censorship appeared on HuffingtonPost.

I am concerned because we have reached the point where any disagreement, any challenge, can now be dismissed as “Uncivil” regardless of how polite the wording. I agree that civil discourse is important. But “civility” has been redefined as “people who agree with me.” Anyone who dares to disagree is ridiculed and dismissed. Trump’s attacks on the media have metastasized like an authoritarian cancer.

Facts are not always polite. Truth doesn’t care about your politics or your feelings. The fact is that America is now ruled by a political party that is out of step with what the majority of Americans think about most major issues. Republicans are in power – and our freedoms are at risk –  because of gerrymandering and voter suppression, not because the majority of Americans agree with Alt-Right ideology. Right wing propaganda, foreign and domestic, fueled the Trump campaign. The Denver Post is adding to this problem when it blocks comments that use facts to make a strong argument.

I am obviously free to post comments on left-learning, Progressive forums. But nothing will change if Progressives and Conservatives are only allowed to speak in their respective safe places. If we want discourse, we must be willing to listen to those who disagree.