I expect you have heard that Craig Brown has completely shut down the discussion boards at CD. So much for public participation and building progressive community! Here is his announcement about this decision:
Due to massive fraud, spam and malicious commenters Common Dreams has decided to put commenting under our articles on hold effective January 3, 2015.
This is a typically disingenuous claim made by Craig Brown. The real reason appears to be that Brown was having increasing difficulty keeping the lid on the true story of the rampant censorship that occurs every day on his site. The truth was leaking out, more and more. This kind of pushback always occurs when authoritarian individuals use repressive tactics to hide the facts.
The truth was also coming out about the massive fraud that Brown commits during every fund drive when he claims that the only source of CD's funding is individual small donations from readers. On the contrary, we know from checking CD's tax records that it receives at least two-thirds of its income from large corporate-controlled foundations. These foundations undoubtedly have influence regarding what is covered by Common Dreams.
In addition, some of the most malicious commenters on CD (such as the notorious Siouxrose) were apparently sponsored by Brown to discredit and harass the honest commenters who tried to participate in good faith in discussions -- but were eventually driven away or banned for their efforts at truth-telling.
As is typical of Brown, he has twisted the facts to make it appear that he is the victim of massive fraud -- rather than the perpetrator of it.
In my opinion, CraIg Brown's chronic dishonesty and abusive behavior should result in his loss of control of the website. No ethical person should contribute to Common Dreams in any way -- either through making financial donations or publishing articles.
The recurring question is: why do so many prominent leftist journalists continue to support and endorse Common Dreams? Bill Moyers, Naomi Klein, Ralph Nader, and others all do so. In my opinion, by condoning Craig Brown's illegitimate actions, these people are just as guilty as he is in perpetrating fraud. This is unconscionable -- because it causes profound and lasting harm to all true leftist organizing in the USA.
From my experience of Common Dreams, what Doug is saying is all too true. It's all about power there, as it is with CounterPunch. Liberal sites like these are not about having common goals, but about building a power base for their operators. Beside making money, they also get to delimit political discussions on the so-called "left." Manipulated by such ego-driven men, is it a surprise American dissidence is so impotent? It's all about power. When readers complained to Jeffrey St. Clair about CounterPunch's cancellation of my Postcard series, St. Clair became enraged and threatened to erase all of my past articles on CounterPunch. I was disgusted. Again, it's all about power, raging, ego-driven grab for power.
As for the support of "prominent leftist journalists" for gatekeeping liberal sites, I can only say that this crowd is remarkably homogenous, and here I'm talking as much about class as anything else. Most naturally, they feel entitled to speak for us all.
Also, Craig Brown's website is his to do as he pleases, but he shouldn't mislead people into thinking it's a common resource or forum for the free exchange of ideas. Under this disguise of "building progressive community," Brown rakes in hundreds of thousands of dollars a year from corporate sponsors, a fact he keeps hidden to better solicit from the little people, though these he will censor or even slander when it suits him.
Craig Brown violated all of his readers when he erased their old comments. Many people put a lot of thought into having meaningful and constructive conversations, but then he just casually erased everything when he reformatted his website. This shows that he never cared for these conversations or "community" in the first place.
As for a writer like me, I published on CD (for free) so as to contribute to the political conversation, not as an intellectual exercise or personal vanity project, but hopefully to sharpen my own as well as the community's response to the problems we all face. Now, if readers were indifferent or annoyed by my writing, then Brown had every right to get rid of me, but the exact opposite was the case, so when he bumped me from CD, he disrupted a very constructive dialogue I was having with readers, as well as the conversation these readers were having with each other. CounterPunch did the same. When a meaningful conversation among thousands of people can be steered, distorted or broken up by a single man, then that's obviously an abuse of power.
Thursday, January 8, 2015
- Linh Dinh
- Born in Vietnam in 1963, I came to the US in 1975, and have also lived in Italy, England and Germany. I'm the author of two books of stories, Fake House (2000) and Blood and Soap (2004), five of poems, All Around What Empties Out (2003), American Tatts (2005), Borderless Bodies (2006), Jam Alerts (2007) and Some Kind of Cheese Orgy (2009), and a novel, Love Like Hate (2010). I've been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2000, 2004, 2007, Great American Prose Poems from Poe to the Present, Postmodern American Poetry: a Norton Anthology (vol. 2) and Flash Fiction International: Very Short Stories From Around the World, etc. I'm also editor of Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (1996) and The Deluge: New Vietnamese Poetry (2013). Blood and Soap was chosen by Village Voice as one of the best books of 2004. My writing has been translated into Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Icelandic and Finnish, and I've been invited to read in London, Cambridge, Brighton, Paris, Berlin, Leipzig, Halle, Reykjavik, Toronto, Singapore and all over the US. I've also published widely in Vietnamese.