SYNDICATED COLUMN: How to Deal with a Media Pile-On

Tips for Targets of Online Hatefests

Over the holiday weekend I found myself in a uncomfortable yet not entirely unfamiliar place. I was the target of the online equivalent of the Two Minute Hate in Orwell’s “1984.”

The subject: the way I draw President Obama. Which I’ve been doing since 2009. But this column is not about that. It’s about a few things I’ve learned about how online witch hunts and mob mentality have evolved in recent years.

Like other cartoonists I’ve taken heat before, notably over my “terror widows” and Pat Tillman cartoons from 2002 and 2004, respectively. During the grim years following 9/11, bloggers on the far right of America’s political fringe repeatedly issued furious rants calling for me to censored, imprisoned, tortured, raped and/or assassinated. Well, hey, it’s nice to be noticed.

Ten years later, the anatomy of the Internet pile-on has changed, and it reveals some interesting changes in American political culture. The knee-jerk nationalism of the Bush years has given way to a form of political correctness on steroids under Obama, with identity politics running amok. Influenced by social networks, the comments sections of political discussion websites have adopted like/dislike ratings systems that amplify groupthink. In contrast to the 2000s, when right-wing haters threatened lefties’ lives more than their livelihoods, conservative Obama Democrats are more likely to censor you than to threaten to kill your family.

To be sure, the basic characteristics of remain the same. Internet mob rule still relies on the power of suggestion; when people follow a link that urges Click Here to See a Terrible Horrible Witch, they’re more likely than not to see, well, a horrible witch.

I call this the Comedy Club Effect. 99.99% of stand-up comics aren’t funny. Yet most people laugh at most of their (bad) jokes. People who spend $30 plus a two-drink minimum are preconditioned to have a good time. Having a good time at a comedy club requires laughing. So the audience laughs.

The mandatory drinks help.

After I was introduced as “America’s funniest cartoonist” at a talk in Chicago I apologized — in a straight-ahead, not even trying to joke way, for being late, explaining that I’d gotten stuck in traffic from O’Hare. Everyone laughed.

The corollary of the Comedy Club Effect is that when people are preconditioned to hate, they tend to hate well and often. Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen experienced this when his “what if I were a bigot” musings (“people with conventional views must repress a gag reflex“) about New York Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio’s biracial family drew calls for his firing and unsubstantiated assertions that these were really Cohen’s thoughts. It was the exact 180-degree opposite of fair: If anything, white conservatives “with conventional views,” rather than progressives, should have been angry at Cohen for attributing bigotry that the conventional types hadn’t expressed.

Like other targets of media pile-ons, I find it hard to accept that angry people who are yelling at you are open to nothing you have to say. Explanations don’t help. Apologies don’t stop them. They just want to yell at you. Anything you say can and will be used, distorted and twisted against you in the court of Twitter.

If you’re smart, you’ll duck and cover, leaving your allies and fellow travelers to run interference for you and defend your cyberhonor. But your defenders won’t get far. Dissenting voices get shouted down too. Anything they say will be similarly twisted and they’ll be accused of being your toadies and shills. In the end, they’ll get ground down by endless demands to repeat themselves until they finally fade away, leaving the field to your attackers’ hundreds of comments, all of which will remain forever Google-able to your future might-have-been employers.

There’s no way you can win. All you can do is conserve your energy until the mob moves on to burn down someone else’s house.

As always, commenters have strong opinions about, for example, cartoons they haven’t actually seen.

My latest imbroglio brought me into contact with such relatively recent additions to the PC canon as “whitesplaining” and “mansplaining.” According to the Urban Dictionary, whitespaining is “the paternalistic lecture given by whites toward a person of color defining what should and shouldn’t be considered racist, while obliviously exhibiting their own racism” and mansplaining is “the tendency of some men to mistakenly believe that they automatically know more about any given topic than does a woman and who, consequently, proceed to explain to her — correctly or not — things that she already knows.”

A more lucid definition is for the suffix “‘splaining,” which Geek Feminism calls “a form of condescension in which a member of a privileged group explains something to a member of a marginalized group — most particularly, explains about their marginalization — as if the privileged person knows more about it.”

As a white male, in other words, I can imagine how irritating it would be to hear a white guy like me tell someone who isn’t white or male about their experience as a disadvantaged minority. But I can’t know how they feel.

Obviously, this is true. The trouble is that, on sites like Daily Kos, where the majority views are pro-Obama and pro-Democratic Party no matter what they do, the cries of “whitesplaining” and “mansplaining” are used to stifle not condescension, but disagreement.

Speaking about the controversy over the way I draw Obama, the founder of Daily Kos refused to weigh in with his opinion over whether or not I am racist. “Don’t be that white guy telling African-Americans what is and isn’t racist,” sayeth Markos Moulitsas. 1300 comments or so later, someone finally asked: “If white guys have no right to voice an opinion about racism, I’m curious if minorities expect white guys to say anything at all about racism (except for racist statement, of course)? After all, if your opinions simply aren’t welcome, can you really expect people to engage in a debate?”

Daily Kos is one of many sites that have adopted Facebook-style like/dislike rating systems. Viewers may click “recommend (+)” or “hide (-)” on blog entries as well as individual comments. Items with more thumbs up add to a poster’s digital “mojo” on the site. Items with more thumbs down get hidden from view and subtract from mojo. Run out of mojo and you can’t post anymore. You are unpersoned, like in “1984.”

The link aggregator Reddit demonstrates the problem with this system. Post cute kittens and your ratings soar. Post anything controversial — say, something about Edward Snowden — and the hates will more than cancel out the likes. Reddit is a place where anything less than totally insipid goes to die. I assume they like it that way.

At Kos they call this “community moderation.” It sounds democratic. In practice, the Rec/Hide system is toxic, stifling and distracting, prompting long threads of comments by people complaining about one another’s hides and recs, and threatening to get even for them. (What were we talking about again?) There are secret Facebook pages for various gangs of Kossacks, who swoop into certain posts to rec or hide them into glory or oblivion, as the case may be.

It sounds silly. It’s what happens when people have too much time on their hands.

But this manipulation of online political discussion has a real-world effect: it crushes anything that disagrees with the hive mind — a collective mentality that becomes more lockstep because of it — and it kills anything new or interesting. Worst of all, casual browsers could be forgiven that nothing new or interesting or taking issue with this mainstream/generic view (in the case of Kos, unquestioning support for Obama and the DNC) exists.

I posted a blog defending myself and explaining why I draw Obama the way I do to Kos. It received many recommendations and attracted hundreds of comments. Unfortunately, you can’t find it anymore. It was “hide rated” by pro-Obama Kossacks.

Forgive me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think the Internet was supposed to turn out like this.

(Ted Rall’s website is Go there to join the Ted Rall Subscription Service and receive all of Ted’s cartoons and columns by email.)



  • Well-written Ted. So well-written, I hope this gets published elsewhere and gains some traction. DailyKos is one of the reasons I don’t identify as a liberal anymore. As you noted, the hive mind on that site is truly frightening, off-the-charts. The funniest thing about it is, these people actually think they’re reasonable and thoughtful — unlike the RedStaters they love to criticize. To be so self-unaware is truly scary, to not know they are at LEAST as bad as the RedStaters (and much worse, if you consider liberals are supposed to be thoughtful and reasonable). The “two-minute hate” is an apt analogy. It really is a mob. A non-thinking mob with a lot of momentum, and that’s a scary thing.

    Markos Moulitsas — it doesn’t surprise me that he used a really weasel way to avoid any comment. He really made sure he appealed politically to all parties with that line. He didn’t alienate his core members who hate anyone critical of Obama, he appealed to black people in an embarrassing “white guilt” deflection of a perfectly viable topic, and he kept you in your place. All in all, a political response Karl Rove would be proud of. I’m sure Moulitsas was high-fiving his buddies on that one.

    Unfortunately though, Moulitsas just reinforces all the negative stereotypes of liberals when a Democrat is in power. You’ve mentioned those already, but the avoidance of discussion surrounding race (including what is and is not racist) has become a liberal staple. It’s the safest path for the liberal: Don’t risk offending minorities, and appeal to their authority on all matters race. When the liberal takes that path, he always comes out a winner! But — to any logical and thoughtful person, he comes out as a coward. Discussions of race and racism are integral to America’s need to move forward. This was an opportunity for the DailyKos hive mind to take part in that process. Instead, they punted. Why am I not surprised?

    • Thank you, Ex. Indeed, part of the issue for me now is that I am fighting back, arguing that I did nothing wrong. That’s not how white guys like me are supposed to behave when accused of racism. We’re supposed to apologize or cower. You see this in many of the “why are you defending yourself” comments on Daily Kos. They’re offended that I’m offended. Woooo!

  • I don’t see what you are saying you posted about why you draw Obama the way you do, that got hidden. Blog posts there cannot be hidden by users, they can only be deleted by admins and that rarely happens. Deleting comments even more rarely happens, so if you posted a piece after “censored by daily kos” and it AND all the accompanying comments were deleted, that would be unprecedented. Also I think I would have seen it.

    On the other hand, if you posted a comment to this effect and it was hidden, all the answering comments would be part of the hidden thread, unless you look them up on the commenters’ comment accounts (that’s a workaround if you know who to look for, as long as *their* comments aren’t hidden as well). Hope that makes sense.

  • Right on Ted. You bring up an interesting paradox…

    On the one hand, one could dismiss the Daily Kos crowd as being no better than any of their previous-generation ilk, like the Iraq-war cheerleaders for instance.

    On the other hand, to really make a difference, you have to reach out, and communicate with those who disagree – otherwise it’s just preaching to the choir. Plus in your case it’s your paid profession (respect!).

    If your opponents resorted to this kind of reflex-inducing attack… well you must’ve hit pretty close to home.

    No coincidence that this happens at a time when our beloved Obama is exposed in broad daylight as a shill for the right-wingers… selling out the federal government to the banks, torture, targeted killings, secet courts, drones, nsa, bald faced warmongering for Syria, the Obamacare fiasco…

    No such thing as bad publicity, I say. Keep it respectfully extra-PC, and work it… help push these good citizens over the edge, its time the Obama fan club realized they’ve been had.

    Most of the Iraq War supporters eventually admitted they were wrong, and were quite happy to blame their once-respected leaders. Use this opportunity to reach out to opponents of establishment Democrats, paint the Dem’s with the ugly brush they deserve.

    • Yeah, I tend to see Obama as a bit of a Trojan horse. They’ve gone on and on about this, too, this business of expecting people to treat him more carefully because he’s black. Same with women…I’ve seen feminists say we should be careful about criticizing Palin because she is female.

      It’s a fine line, because if it’s overdone, it creates a vulnerability, and the ruthless who run this world will just start running Condi Rice candidates in order to give themselves an edge, while on the other hand, indulging in cheap shots that don’t really send a needed message, reinforces stereotypes. Trying to manage that in the context of being an artist is difficult because you don’t plan this stuff, you kind of let it percolate and it bubbles up and then you use the best stuff you’ve got.

      • Totally, Miep, that’s the whole point of racial and gender tokenism: officials who engage in militaristic, right-wing, oppressive policies for the benefit of the 1% are impervious to criticism when they’re members of a minority or female. I have always thought, fuck that, it’s stupid and transparent and I’m not buying in. But there’s no denying that, with many people, this tactic remains potent.

      • I don’t know if Ted or anybody noticed (or cared), but in the run-up of the Syrian “ultimatum” fiasco I’ve seen a lot of buzz on Twitter from O-bots (most of them, regrettably, African-Americans) about how horrible Assad was and how we had to “think of the children” and that something… had.. to be done!. And if you thought otherwise (like, maybe it’s not such a good idea to pacify a place by bombing it), you were a monster, you hated Obama and you were probably racist.

        Well, time passes, Syria is not bombed into oblivion, even though the war rages on, Assad is still a tyrant, and, of course, the rebels are much worse. But, get ready for this, none of those people seem to care about Syria anymore. I know, shocking, right?

    • The cartoon itself was a double whammy, because it used the parallel misleading claims in the election of if you like your plan, you can keep it, and we will end the war in Afghanistan, and ended with the stinging “If you like your war in Afghanistan, you can keep it”.

      And in terms of what to aim at to defend the President from being assaulted by criticism, … well, if you look at the caricature in the right way, it can look vaguely ape-like, though that aspect of the caricature is basically identical to the corresponding caricatures of Presidents Clinton and Bush, so the actual charge would be that Ted Rall draws ape-like caricatures of Presidents and the current President should be exempt from that.

  • Also, I quite agree about comment rating. It’s a weird kind of power addiction and time-suck. They spend an inordinate amount of time on Daily Kos obsessing about the ins and outs of comment rating, as you’ve noted. Then they have daily posts about whose comments got the highest ratings. One of the nicer things about WordPress is that it doesn’t come with comment rating, though it’s possible to add it.

  • I agree with you about Ted’s article.

    This is a great post in response to a great post.

  • alex_the_tired
    December 2, 2013 9:51 PM


    One of your best columns in a long time.

    I grow more scared of more of the Internet more and more.

  • so what is the reason you draw obama that way now? i don’t think you’re a racist. i don’t even know what that word means anymore. but apparently, if you’re “white” your opinion is meaningless. unless, of course, you’re one of the ones crying racism. but i have been thinking about this a lot lately. what with miley cyrus and seemingly everyone else being called a racist. apparently, a person’s intention is completely irrelevant. it’s all about people’s perception. which is kind of scary. and something i instinctively react against for obvious reasons. but if multiple people are having a negative reaction to something that isn’t intended to be racist, should that be taken into account? i read some article somewhere (i think it was jezebel) written by a white woman about “ironic racism.” she was basically saying that you can say whatever you want but that some people are going to be hurt by certain things. even if you don’t mean to hurt them. it just sort of made me think about “racism” differently. obviously, we can’t control how everyone is going to perceive everything we say (or draw). and there are going to be times when what we say (or draw) is misunderstood. the thing is, there really is no answer to the question of who is at fault for a miscommunication between two people. is it the receiver for having a faulty perception mechanism or is it the communicator for failing to communicate what he is trying to say clearly? or both? in the end, it doesn’t really matter. if one’s goal is to communicate effectively, it’s incumbent on the communicator to speak in a language that the listener can understand. there’s no moral imperative. it’s just sort of practical. but also, i don’t really want to upset anyone if i don’t have to. i used to think that if someone got offended by something i said that shouldn’t have offended them (as far as i was concerned) then fuck em. and i still pretty much feel that way. but i’m starting to be a little more sensitive when it comes to “racism” because, as was perfectly exemplified in this case, it’s a very sensitive issue to a lot of people and can very easily overwhelm everything else.

    • I don’t know what you mean about drawing Obama that way “now.” I’ve been drawing him pretty much consistently the same way for years. He gets the same treatment all political figures do in my drawing style. I think it would be racist to be nicer to him than I would be if he were white.

      • “I posted a blog defending myself and explaining why I draw Obama the way I do to Kos.”

        “now” as opposed to how you drew him in 2006 which you’ve admitted was different. i didn’t even remember that you used to draw him differently until i saw some old pics. so obviously his look has evolved. the question is why?

        i know that’s how you draw bush (and i think bush even became more grotesque as time progressed). but i never thought “monkey.” was that ever part of your thought process? or was that ever brought to your attention?

        because obviously you shouldn’t be “nicer” to obama. but the fact remains that there is some fucked up historical shit with black people that exists in reality and still affects people today. there’s got to be a way for you to depict obama that conveys his monstrosity (or whatever it is you were going for) without reading “monkey” to however many people.

        obviously, you don’t have to. you could say fuck you to anyone who gets upset. and in an ideal world, where slavery never existed and black people weren’t portrayed as monkeys to dehumanize them, it would be racist to treat black people differently. but in the real world, it could just be considered simply being thoughtful and considerate.

        it would be very easy for you to say something like, i’m sorry, it never occurred to me that i was drawing obama (and bush, etc.) in a way that anyone could interpret as monkeys. that was never my intention. and while i feel like it would be racist to treat obama any differently than i would treat a white person, it’s come to my attention that some people of color feel otherwise.

        of course, there would probably be people who get upset that you changed your depiction and accuse you of racism for that. but who would those people be? clarence thomas? the kkk? i think you could deal with that.

        i’m not saying i believe that only “white” people can be racist. that’s bullshit. but i do think the racism “people of color” experience is different. and it’s worse simply because of the historical implications and the power dynamic. i don’t think it’s “racist” to acknowledge that and take it into consideration.

      • alex_the_tired
        December 3, 2013 2:11 PM

        Pork. Look up the Forer Effect. You see ape because YOU see ape.

        To date, no one has bothered to go to the heavy lifting of demonstrating a substantive trend of “racism” by Mr. Rall.

        As to why he draws characters differently from one year to another. Really? Okay. Take a look at the first Doonesbury strips. Take a look at the first Peanuts strips. Take a look at the first For Better or For Worse strips. Take a look a the first Dykes to Watch Out For strips. Artists’ styles constantly alter.

        As Carl Sagan put it, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

      • alex_the_tired
        December 3, 2013 2:27 PM

        Whoops! Sorry. Meant to say
        You see ape because YOU have had SOMEONE say to you, “He looks like an ape.”

        (Ted, you’ve gotta get an edit function in this thing!)

  • Note that daily kos had recs for putting diaries onto the wreckage list (aka “rec” list) and tips and hide rates of posts for as long or longer than Facebook has existed.

    The idea is supposed to be that with tips being worth +3 and hide rates being worth -1, it takes more than just a marginal balance of opinion that something is either spam or beyond the realm of acceptable discourse to hide a comment. But of course, what that means is that people who wish to appoint themselves community moderators must gather in gangs so that they can both hide rate comments themselves and then go recruit other people to join in the hide rating, so what it ends up doing is encouraging the development of gangs of roving comment section thugs/vigilantes.

    Without principled site moderation to sanction those roving gangs of comment section thugs, obviously others on the site group together in self-defense.

    And it ends up the mess that you see. I’ve been blogging at daily kos off and on since 2007. I developed a weekly blog on sustainable transport & energy that I wrote at daily kos and cross-posted elsewhere, and for a few years mostly stuck to the comments of my own blogs and some of the environmental / climate change blogs that were posted there. When sometime in early 2011 I took a closer look at what was normal behavior in the wreckage list diaries, I shifted my weekly blog so that it started elsewhere and was cross-posted to daily kos, to be sure that if I ran afoul of being “community moderated”, I would be comfortable just dropping daily kos off from my list of regular cross-post sites.

  • alex_the_tired
    December 3, 2013 7:57 AM

    I was chewing this over some more last night and this morning:

    “As a white male, in other words, I can imagine how irritating it would be to hear a white guy like me tell someone who isn’t white or male about their experience as a disadvantaged minority. But I can’t know how they feel.”

    Ted, you drank the Kool-Aid. You fell for it. This has never been about you telling someone else about their experience. (Dear Mr. Twain, Dear Ms. Stowe, your books are rejected. Although you have a good idea here, as you aren’t part of the group you’re writing about, your points cannot be valid or worthwhile.)

    The people doing the telling-about-experience schtick are the DKers. They’re telling you what you were thinking, how you felt, etc. while you were drawing that cartoon. And when you try to explain to them that they’re completely wrong, they ignore you.

    The Internet rewards snap judgments. DK is a great example. The content starts at 100 rating points, meaning everything is A+. (I do that as a courtesy.) But, as it’s wide open to anyone, the ______ articles start coming in. _______ is, of course, whatever trauma someone survived. A rape, a knifing, eight years of Reagan, a stint in prison, whatever.

    As any editor can tell you, the worst people to write an unedited, unapproved article are the survivors of a trauma if they are still working through that trauma. The anger, the fear, all the rest of it comes through.

    DK is one of those sites. The head of it came up with a clever little gimmick at just the right time. He sets up an electronic sweatshop, the people voluntarily submit their material because, frankly, most of it isn’t worth a dime, and everyone recommends everyone’s stuff. It’s like a pyramid scheme. The contributors go out and link their articles to other sites and they’re hooked. Using the traffic figures, Kos sells ads, buys a house in San Fran, throws in the occasional article himself, and rakes in the money.

    How much does he make off the site? Say it’s only $1,000 a month (I would be flabbergasted if it were so little). For $12K a year, it’s a pretty small investment in my time. Crank out a few knee-jerk articles, let other people do all the heavy lifting, show up on TV and sound appropriately outraged about how big business pays workers so little, then go to Ikea and buy stuff for the new house.

  • detroitmechworks
    December 3, 2013 7:58 AM

    The site has changed considerably in the 8 years I’ve been there.

    I’ve been subjected to one of the pileons ONCE. When I made a joke about how Obama voters were acting like guys who bought a crappy video game system and magically turned into incredibly fanboys of it.

    I got censored for the word Fanboy, and was accused of being racist, someone who “Hates” the president, etc. etc. I’ve also been attacked by their “RKBA” contingent for my comments about gun control. It got to the point on that one where I ended up joining a clique just to be able to comment on gun control without being HR’d to death.

    For the most part I stick to snark now. Occasionally, I can get away with something pretty harsh just by being VERY vicious and not specifically naming names. People know what I’m talking about… Course you have to be VERY careful on that one because they’ll accuse you of “Dogwhistling” if you use terms that can be linked in any way to the right wing.

  • I’m not familiar with the Daily Kos. Just the gocomics forum (which is mostly against’em). The rwnjs rely on repeating and reinforcing each others’ lies. The usual, ‘$5,000 penalty if you’re not on Obamacare by 15 Dec.’ ‘But that’s wrong.’ ‘You lie. It’s true.’ ‘He’s right, it’s true, and the person who said it was wrong is lying.’ ‘You’re both right, and the person who said there’s no $5,000 penalty is a big, fat, liberal liar.’ Etc., etc. So almost anyone who isn’t posting cat videos will get trashed, as you said, in massive sync (since someone posted it takes three times as many hates as likes to get vanished on Daily Kos). And you’re neither Tea nor Rino nor Obamabot, so lots of agreement to hate all your posts. But such posts would be hated no matter who posted them.

    So I clicked the links about the terror widows and Tillman. I had to search for the actual cartoons. Typical Rall, not consistent with the Times editorial policy. Accurate, but the Times isn’t big on accuracy these days.

    I was a bit disappointed with your interview with BILL O’REILLY. You blamed Pakistan for 9/11/’01. (O’Reilly pointed out that the experts, those with access to classified intelligence, KNEW it was all Iraq and Afghanistan, which, of course, it wasn’t. He kept asking how someone like you without such access could possibly get your ridiculous ideas when every rational person knew Iraq and Afghanistan were entirely responsible).

    If you’d wandered around the Gulf and sat in shisha parlours, you’d know that Gulf Arabs despise Egyptians and South Asians. Had a South Asian suggested to those 19 Gulf shebabs that they fly planes into the World Trade Center, it would be standing today.

    And, sitting, puffing, and listening, you’d know that, before 9/11/’01, many Saudi preachers gave Friday khutbahs saying that the World Trade Center was filled with mass murderers who had killed more than one BILLION innocent people, many of them Muslims. The logic was that all the people in the World Trade Center were entirely responsible for globalism and US neo-imperialism, and so were guilty of murder because they diverted food and money to the workers in the World Trade Center (who shared the stolen money), so innocents died of starvation and lack of potable water and medical care. As Hunter S. Thompson said, the US had to attack some country that had nothing to do with 9/11, because that was The American Way. He was wrong. The US had to attack TWO countries that had nothing to do with 9/11.

    The original itinerary of the 9/11 hijackers was from Saudi to Dubai (where they picked up four more) to Germany to London to the US. This was posted in the days right after 9/11.

    Pakistan and Afghanistan and Iraq had to be stamped posthumously into their passports.

    Then US forces offered hundreds of years’ worth of income for every ‘terrorist’ handed in. It was an offer that couldn’t be refused: unimaginable wealth and an enemy disposed of forever!

    And those ‘terrorists’ now reside in Guantánamo, with no proof that would satisfy any rational, 20th century juror, only confessions under torture, evidence that is more than enough to convince the judges in the Star Chamber. But that’s the 21st century for you. We’ve made a lot of progress since the unenlightened, backward days of the 20th, when most people (not all, but most) could not be convicted without any reasonable proof or evidence.

  • You describe it well. The witch hunt was shameful, and the moment the first blood was drawn the rest went wild and started bludgeoning you, picking apart every word you had ever written and twisting them to put you in the worst possible light.. It was not only shameful, but horrifying. I’m so thoroughly sickened I’m not sure I can stomach going back there for a good, long time, if ever.

  • Your essay and analysis are spot on. What I found so horrific was the pile-on, even if the initial objection had validitiy for some people there, which should not be dismissed out of hand. But the ensuing witch hunt was a nightmare. Once the first blood was drawn, everyone swarmed in for the attack, leaving no word you had ever spoken or cartoon you had ever drawn, no matter how long ago, unturned to prove what a horrible, vile, sick, etc. etc. person you supposedly are. It was truly sickening. I have seen it before in another case and been disgusted by it, but had nearly forgotten it. This was a stark reminder of the danger of getting too involved anywhere on the internet. Anyone could be the next target for uttering the wrong word, glance, whatever suits their fancy.

  • Ted: Yeah, it’s so sad to see these well-meaning activists defending the dignity of politicians who wouldn’t piss on them if they were on fire, just because they’re anything other than white guys.

  • […] spent plenty of time capably defending himself on his site and elsewhere. That’s part of the power of the Puritan piranha swarm. They can litter the […]

  • […] Consider also reading Rall’s piece “How to deal with a media pile-on.” […]

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