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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Doug Buckwald on Common Dreams' new comment policy


Craig Brown says:

"Be Nice to Our Writers..."

That one short phrase gives a clear indication of what will be allowed in the comments section.  As our mothers always told us, it's not nice to criticize others.   Craig Brown certainly believes that it's not nice to criticize his loyal Democratic Party writers – particularly if your criticisms are forceful and compelling.

Craig Brown adds:
"...we are providing you a forum to debate them."

That is nonsense.  The writers on Coming Dreams never stoop so low as to debate the commenters.  On a handful of occasions, I've seen a writer post a comment or two – but I've never seen a substantive response to articulate and well-supported criticisms of their work.  They are simply too afraid to do that because they realize they would lose the argument.  They are propagandists and they know it.

Craig Brown sums up:

"But any posters making personal attacks on our contributing writers will not be welcome in our community."

As Greg pointed out, Craig Brown alone will determine what constitutes a "personal attack".  I believe, in Brown's view, a personal attack will be: 

(a) any reference to the past activities of the writer; 
(b) any reference to the source of the funds that the writer receives; 
(c) any reference to the Democratic Party affiliations of the writer;
(d) any reference to misleading or slanted statements that the writer makes;
(e) any reference to the broader historical and political context of the subject the writer discusses; and most important,
(f) any information that proves that the writer is clearly wrong about one or more central assertions in the article.

In other words, any criteria that are normally used to judge the trustworthiness of a writer will not be allowed in the comments section.

It's incredible, really.  It shows that the writers favored by Common Dreams simply cannot bear standard scrutiny of their work – so they must be protected from all critics using the draconian censorship methods that Craig Brown has favored for years.

In short, it's an admission that the writers on Common Dreams are phonies – but anyone who points this out will, of course, be banished permanently.


By calling his new discussion forum "The Commons", Craig Brown has also bastardized the meaning of the word "commons" --  which distresses me greatly because this is a valuable tradition in society.  It has deep historical roots among people who understand the importance of sharing access to vital resources.  By definition, nobody could be banished from the commons -- because they were held in common by everybody.  But, as used by Craig Brown, this word is intended only to provide a misleading and pleasant veneer over the latest censorship regime that he has imposed.

`When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.'

`The question is,' said Alice, `whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

`The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master - - that's all.' 



How could anyone with any self-respect at all participate in such a heavily-controlled discussion forum?

What honest thing could one say without cowering in fear of punishment? 



Linh Dinh said...

Doug just added:

Hi Linh,

It's amazing: the staff writers will serve as moderators (i.e. censors) to weed out all of the unacceptable comments. In other words, they will be in charge of editing the comments that are posted about their own work.

Believe it or not, the following two sentences come in this order: "...But any posters making personal attacks on our contributing writers will not be welcome in our community.

All are welcome in our community."
That's Craig Brown's typical Newspeak -- where glaring contradictions are par for the course.



Linh Dinh said...

Greg Hilbert writes:

Craig Brown broke his own Common Dreams record for overt and covert censoring in 2014, and has now launched a commenting system giving him totalitarian control over comments and commenters.

Among the things he doesn't want readers to know is that contrary to his misrepresentation that CD is 100% supported by small donations from readers, some 65% of his funding is from wealthy capitalists. I've researched the wealthy gatekeeper money trail. The most telling is that which flows from Rockefeller, IBM and GM heirs to Moyers, Winship, McKibben, The Nation and CD.

For recaps, please see my comments at

Note the large number of Moyers, Winship, McKibben, and The Nation articles CD publishes. The same Rockefeller, IBM and GM heirs fund them all, and gave Brown $200K in the last year for which information is available.

For a recent example of CD publishing Rockefeller propagandists, see
The author of the duplicitous article is an employee of "The National Priorities" project. What CD's Brown doesn't tell readers is that TNP is Rockefeller funded and directed.

If I were to post a comment revealing that fact to CD readers, or revealing the wealthy capitalist funders of any of its article authors, I'd be banned.

I know this because I was banned simply for documenting that 65% of CD's funds are from foundations funded by wealthy capitalists and their heirs, including those of Citgo, Walmart, CNN, HP, IBM, GM, the banking cartel, etc, etc, etc.


x larry said...

didn't see your comments at cd link you gave, linh. did you use your own name? very interesting comments here, though. cheers,
xlarry aka joe aka

Linh Dinh said...

Yo x larry,

Above message is from Greg Hilbert. Greg posted twice, but his comment mysteriously disappeared each time, without him or me deleting, so I had to repost it myself.

I told Greg that perhaps someone had hijacked his computer and used his ISP to delete his comment?


x larry said...

that, if true, is so outrageous! must read article and hilbert commentary before commenting further, if at all. cheers,

Michael said...

Sounds like the Democratic Party--or at least its appologists--have come full circle from where they started out (in the late 1790', when they were persecuted under the Federalist Party's "Alien and Sedition Laws," when any editor or stump speaker was tossed into jail for criticizing the government. Of course the editors of "Common Dreams" don't have the authority to through their critics into a dungeon, like their predecessors, but they quickly become non-persons at their mis-named site.
Michael N. Landis

Anonymous said...

I've pretty much abandoned Common Dreams. Used to read and post comments all the time, but I noticed several months ago it's just the same pro- Democratic Party apologists repeatedly preaching to the choir, and the comment section dominated by a handful of vociferous regulars who shout down any who have differing points of view, or actual knowledge or information that has slipped past the gatekeepers.

common Dreams has become a glaring symptom of why the left is deservedly viewed as so fractured and ineffective to the point of total voluntary paralysis.


About Me

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 a non-fiction book, Postcards from the End of America (2017), 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). 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.