The central issue in this Breitbart article is not the substance of it, as many a commenter in the thread pointed out.
The central issue is how far does a publication refuse opinion contrary to its main thrust and how far does it allow free debate? As a political blogger, I confess it’s one I’ve not yet worked out and that goes for OoL too.
There is this point of view from the comments thread:
Every news outlet has editorial direction. The BBC may pretend it doesn’t, but we know it does. If people want a different perspective they can read the Guardian, Order-Order, Huffington Post, Daily Mail, or whatever, and indeed most people do read multiple sources and make up their minds. However, as an example the Telegraph messed up by bringing in people such as Geoffrey Lean and Tom Chivers. As a result people didn’t just decide which articles to read, they just deserted the DT itself.
Spot on, but then why does BB allow him to publish his hit pieces on their website, surely they must know they are damaging their brand? People will end up leaving in the end if bloggers like him keep polluting these pages. I guess the best thing is not to click on his articles.
… but against that is this:
As Tim Aker said yesterday – having party internal debates is something which seems to be foreign to the establishment parties …
Isn’t that called free speech? It does not matter if you dislike his blogs or his opinions, surely, you are mature enough to make up your own mind about them. Or, do you want a news outlet that exclusively prints opinions that are in conjunction with your own narrative?
Phew. I confess I see all of those points of view.
There’s very much a case for making, say, my own blog only represent the centre-right/libertarian view but there’s also a case for how it used to be – any opinion tolerated and argued against. And yes, it was so in earlier days.
The issue is trolling, which kills any debate. The Breitbart post linked to at the top of this post is just that – it’s a piece of trolling ahead of Rochester and Strood.
Such people are not interested in free debate, genuine debate – they are only interested in scoring points for their opposed cause, in confounding and confusing readers. We bloggers open our doors to them in a spirit of open debate, to show we entertain all points of view, and they spit on the house and do their darndest to stir things up, forcing the admins to close their doings down and thus leave the admins open to charges of highhandedness and not being ‘able to handle debate’.
The admins would say it has nothing whatever to do with genuine debate – it is psy-ops, an attempt to bring down, it’s ad hominem and lack of substantiation. It’s a gross misuse of the word ‘debate’. It’s dross. And factually wrong dross at that.
And of course, they would shout that the admins are restricting the free speech they trumpet.
Increasingly, I’m tending to the first quote above, not to shut down debate but because it is not debate these opposed views come in and engage in. It’s simple trolling.