As we have been surfing the net, we obviously often come across news articles that are just begging us to post a comment in the comments section. The commentary is either going nowhere or there are a series of
witty stupid one-liners where some intelligent discussion should appear. So we try to encourage a broader discussion by letting people know that:
1) the capitalist regime is not “the best of all possible worlds” nor must we suffer it to continue to exist and;
2) by explaining how we workers might all get together and create societies far more egalitarian and fun for ourselves and future generations to enjoy by abolishing the capitalist system worldwide and replacing the current regime of warring capitalist nation states with peaceful, egalitarian workers republics.
The pro-capitalist media is supposed to uphold standards of openness and freedom of expression which, we are endlessly told, does not exist in “communist” countries like China, Cuba, Vietnam and North Korea. However, in reality, the capitalist news media censors itself and the commentaries it allows to appear on their websites in order to keep the “news” and the parameters of its discussion well within limits which the bourgeoisie finds to be “acceptable”. This is elementary knowledge for Marxists like us, and is why we speak of the press utilizing the scientific terminology developed by the Marxist movement over the past 150 years, which strips away all the thick greasepaint capitalism uses to hide its true, hideous reality. That’s why we don’t speak of the “mainstream media” or “MSM” as the pro-capitalist liberals and right-wing anti-MSMers do: we call it out as the “capitalist press” or “bourgeois press”, because that’s what it is. The major media outlets in capitalist countries, being owned by capitalists, are not “objective” but espouse the political, economic and social philosophy of the capitalist class itself.
That’s why even such supposedly upstanding news organizations like Reuters censor our posts when we submit them to their websites. They would prefer that the very name of socialism or communism never be uttered on their sites, unless it is to disparage those philosophies and everyone who has ever or who does today have anything good to say about socialism.
Late last year, we submitted the following comment to a Reuters news story carried on their own website on December 12th under the title “North Korea launches rocket, raising nuclear arms stakes” :
“Congratulations to North Korea on their successful satellite launch! Here’s hoping that this will give the U.S. imperialists and their lackeys in Japan and Seoul reason to back down off their war provocations on the Korean peninsula. But we doubt it.
“The billionaires’ bought-and-paid-for capitalist press pretends that the missile programs of North Korea pose a major threat to ‘world peace’ while the U.S. military operates in 173 countries and slaughters civilians from Afghanistan to Pakistan to Iraq and threatens to destroy Iran and North Korea with the US’ MASSIVE nuclear arsenal.
“The possession of nuclear weapons by small states like Iran and North Korea has been made a matter of life or death by the very real and continual nuclear blackmail being waged against these states and all the world’s nations by the ACTUAL ‘biggest threat to world peace’: the blood-soaked capitalist class of the United States, guilty of genocide of the Native Americans, the death of hundreds of thousands of Africans in the slave trade, 300 years of slavery by which the ‘great families’ of the US made their fortunes, and their bloody wars to steal northern Mexico, to seize Cuba, to murder the Philippine nationalists in the 1890s, to back up brutal military dictatorships throughout Central and South America, the napalming of ‘every village in North Korea’ during the Korean War – and other crimes too numerous to fit the space given here. Only a workers revolution in the United States which disarms this ruthless capitalist class can begin the process by which the world can truly enjoy peace for the first time.
US/NATO: Hands off North Korea! Workers of the World, Unite!”
We waited for an hour or so to see our comment duly posted on the Reuters site while other peoples’ comments, made long after ours, were posted, one after the other. Irritated, but not at all surprised by this, we wrote to the Reuters editorial staff to ask if we had somehow fallen afoul of their “comments policy” and if so, what could we do to correct the situation? They assigned us #23036 to our complaint and pretended that they would get back to us.
Here is the response from Reuters:
[From:] Karen Pastor, Thomson Reuters
- Hello,Thank you for contacting Reuters.com support. Please be informed that we have moderators who are in charge of moderating all the comments posted on Reuters.com. If a comment was not approved or banned, it only means that it did not pass the standards of the moderators or Reuters.com comments policy. Kindly see below links for your reference.1) Where can I learn more about your comments policy?
http://reuters.zendesk.com/entries/312923-where-can-i-learn-more-about-your-comments-policy2) Why is my comment not appearing on the site?
http://reuters.zendesk.com/entries/312928-why-is-my-comment-not-appearing-on-the-site3) Why am I not allowed to comment on an article?
http://reuters.zendesk.com/entries/312925-why-am-i-not-allowed-to-comment-on-an-article4) I’ve been banned from submitting comment. Why did this happen?
http://reuters.zendesk.com/entries/312924-i-ve-been-banned-from-submitting-comment-why-did-this-happen5) How can I reinstate an account that has been banned?
http://reuters.zendesk.com/entries/20258347-how-can-i-reinstate-an-account-that-has-been-bannedPlease do not hesitate to contact us for your concerns.Kind regards,The Reuters.com Team
- Hello:It would appear that there was no specific reason why this comment was censored by your moderators, since you responded to our inquiry with a boilerplate answer. If this is not the case, please explain why our comment was not posted on your site; otherwise we will have to assume that it was censored for its political content.Thanks,Independent Workers Party of Chicago
- Hello,According to our editorial team, we can’t find it. It’s nowhere in our system.
Please try again.Regards,
Really, what is there for them to explain? Our comment violated several financial and ideological underpinnings of their business and their friends’ businesses, not to mention providing a searing indictment of the world’s most powerful capitalist ruling class, and so, it had to be, and was, dutifully censored by Reuters’ very own quisling employees who care more for their own job security than they do for those highly touted principles of the “free press” they were taught in the capitalists’ own journalism schools. See how that works?
If you still don’t get it, check out the “comments policy” explanation given by Dean Wright, written back on 27 Sept. 2010 when he still worked at Reuters:
“Visitors to this space may recall that I wrote this summer about the issues Reuters and other news organizations face in dealing with reader comments on stories.
“I’ve become increasingly concerned about the quality of discourse in comments on news stories on Reuters.com and on other major news sites. On some stories, the “conversation” has been little more than partisans slinging invective at each other under the cloak of anonymity. I believe our time-challenged, professional readers want to see a more rewarding conversation—and my colleagues who lead Reuters.com are introducing a new process for comments that I believe will help bring that about. […] Let me introduce Richard Baum, Reuters Global Editor for Consumer Media, to tell you about the new process:
[Richard Baum continues:]
“Like many major news publishers, we’ve agonized over how to balance our enthusiasm for reader comments on stories with our belief that few people would benefit from a free-for-all. Most of our readers respect our request for comments that “advance the story,” by submitting relevant anecdotes, links and data or by challenging our reporting when they think we’ve fallen short of our editorial standards. It’s rewarding, sometimes even exhilarating, to see the way our audience builds on our coverage.
“Where we struggle is with comments that we believe contribute nothing useful to the conversation. I’m not talking about obscenities and spam — we have software that aims to block the publication of those — but something more subjective. Most of our readers are business professionals who value their time highly. [emphasis added – IWPCHI] We believe they want comments that are as rewarding to read as they are to write. The challenge is how we deliver that experience in a way that doesn’t delay the publication of good comments nor use up resources that might be better deployed on other parts of the site.
[…] Here are some examples of the type of comments that fall foul of our moderators:
– racism and other hate language that isn’t caught by our software filters
– obscene words with letters substituted to get around the software filters
– semi-literate spelling; we’re not looking for perfection, but people shouldn’t have to struggle to determine the meaning
– uncivil behavior towards other commentators; debate is welcome, schoolyard taunts are not
– incitement to violence
– comments that have nothing to do with the story
– comments that have been pasted across multiple stories
– comments that are unusually long, unless they’re very well written
– excessive use of capital letters
“Some of the guidelines for our moderators are hard to define precisely. [You mean to say: utterly subjective? – IWPCHI] Mocking of public people can be fair sport, for example, but a moderator that has just approved 30 comments calling someone an idiot can rightly decide that there’s little incremental value in publishing the 31st. When we block comments of this nature, it’s because of issues of repetition, taste or legal risk, not political bias.
“Until recently, our moderation process involved editors going through a basket of all incoming comments, publishing the ones that met our standards and blocking the others. (It’s a binary decision: we don’t have the resources to edit comments.)
“This was unsatisfactory because it delayed the publication of good comments, especially overnight and at weekends when our staffing is lighter.
“Our new process grants a kind of VIP status on people who have had comments approved previously. When you register to comment on Reuters.com, our moderation software tags you as a new user. Your comments go through the same moderation process as before, but every time we approve a comment, you score a point.
“Once you’ve reached a certain number of points, you become a recognized user. Congratulations: your comments will be published instantly from now on. Our editors will still review your comments after they’ve been published and will remove them if they don’t meet our standards. When that happens, you’ll lose points. Lose enough points and you’ll revert to new user status.
“The highest scoring commentators will be classified as expert users, earning additional privileges that we’ll implement in future. You can see approval statistics for each reader on public profile pages like this, accessed by clicking on the name next to a comment.
“It’s not a perfect system, but we believe it’s a foundation for facilitating a civil and rewarding discussion that’s open to the widest range of people. Let me know what you think.”
Here’s what some Reuters readers “thought” about that statement: