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Wednesday 27 April 2016

Heat Street Comment Cowardice

[Update at end of post]

Supposedly “libertarian” and certainly right-wing, Murdoch-backed site Heat Street, fronted by (thankfully) former Tory MP Louise Mensch, promised much before its launch. Comment here, Ms Mensch told her Twitter followers, would be truly free, not like the kind favoured by those rotten lefties at the Guardian. There would be No Safe Spaces. There would, moreover, be No Holds Barred. If only that were the reality.
(c) Doc Hackenbush 2014

Let’s look first at the PR spin and Ms Mensch’s own promise. Appearing on Fox Business Network with Trish Regan, she dutifully toldYou can’t beat Fox News” before using her updated faux-Stateside accent to describe all those subject areas that would be covered. Political correctness would be challenged. The Huffington Post was decried as “very Left-wing”. Heat Street would be “neither right nor left”, and a little libertarian.
On the Republican nomination, she announced “nobody’s going to get to 1237”, which might need a little adjustment after yesterday’s primaries. And her claims for Heat Street might need similar adjustment. These include “Online abuse: how women are fighting back @Guardian ... by founding websites where comment is free and SJWs can't censor”. "SJW" is a right-wing abuse term, meaning “Social Justice Warrior”.
You see a lot about SJWs on Heat Street. These are The Enemy Of All Good Freedom Loving People (allegedly). But the meaning is clear - you’ll be free to comment. And there will be nowhere to hide, as witness “We say 'No Safe Spaces' - we mean it. Exclusive i/v with @Nero :Milo Yiannopoulos Hits College Campuses”. Yiannopoulos is, in reality, a failed businessman and amateur human being, but interested in self-promotion.
And in case you missed that one, there’s “Proving @HeatStreet has NO safe spaces - Politics lead: @VoxDay on his support for @realDonaldTrump #TrumpTrain”. No safe spaces, right? And no censorship, either: “Feel free. No Safe Spaces. I wouldn't censor you like @Guardian Comment is Flee”. Yes, there are even jokes! It was a joke, wasn’t it? But feedback would be welcomed. Moreover, it would be encouraged.
Hence Ms Mensch Tweeting “Do you think Obama is Anti-British? Yes. What do you think? http://heatst.com/politics/8-ways-obama-damaged-the-us-uk-special-relationship/ … via @heatstreet”. What do I think? OK, I’m up for a little feedback. Let’s have a look at that article, a routine slice of right-wing carping at Barack Obama. There’s a poll. That’s a good start. But how do I submit a comment? Er, that’s not possible.
What, no comments allowed? On a “libertarianwebsite? What happened to “websites where comment is free and SJWs can’t censor"? And “I wouldn’t censor you like [the] Guardian”? Why ask “what do you think” when you clearly don’t care enough to provide for that feedback? This is the height of shameless hypocrisy - a bastion of free speech that does not allow, er, free speech. Heat Street, as Margaret Thatcher once said, is frit.

And it’s funded by a billionaire who hates democracy so much that he regularly subverts it. I’ll just leave that one there.

[UPDATE 1800 hours: Louise Mensch has just admitted that Heat Street does not allow comments.
Good of her to admit that the site she fronts, and which she has described as "libertarian", does not allow comments. But it might do so in the future, so that's all right then]


hatty said...

The comments / complaints / feedback system should have been absolute priority with some of the content it runs, especially with the claims the website made about freedom of speech. Seem to get their opinions & facts mixed up too, poor citations and a lot of anecdotal evidence. I'm very confused about it's aims.

Tim Fenton said...

I suspect the authors are confused, too.

And yes, the comments provision should not have been an afterthought that was only brought on after a little gentle prodding.

Anonymous said...

Is 'No Safe Places' supposed to be a good thing?

So posting an article on 'Heat Street' is not a safe thing to do?

Anonymous said...

Will the comment section be used for practising dark arts?
I'd avoid it.

Anonymous said...

It'll be as bad as Mail on Online.

A "safe place" for far right nutters.

pete c said...

What an appalling, grovelling, toadying puff-piece you highlighted on Fox Business.

Hard to say which of the two was the most odious.

And La Mensch really is out to lunch if she thinks Huff-Post is out there on the left.

As Tim repeatedly reminds us - they let this twat become an MP. Bet her CV is a real hoot.

Anonymous said...

To pete c:

Anybody who disagrees with UnterMensch (and her type) will be dubbed "left."

What it actually confirms is just how far right she is. Anybody who claims Huff Post is "left" is a guest at a Haha Hotel.

The woman is a dangerous ranting loony.

JohnnyRidden said...

Post a set of brackets at her, it makes her flip her shit something fierce!
I can't recall ever seeing someone go so crazy over 6 characters of text but it set her off for like three days straight!