Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Huffington Post: A Community of Ignorance

There's a theory that internet communities function very much like communities in the real world. There are users who are well known, users who are infamous, users who are outcasts, and so forth. The community in general holds views on certain things, either imposed externally (like "DemocratsofAmerica.com") or by general consensus. Obviously this doesn't apply to all issues but I think it certainly applies to the Huffington Post. Democrats are good, or at least aren't as bad as Republicans. Someone on the Huffington Post who identifies as conservative will probably be lambasted or verbally attacked. On its own, I don't have a problem with that so much. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that the Huffington Post as a whole is very left-leaning; it has as much a right to do that as FOX News has a right to be right-leaning.

What I have found to be very troubling, though, is the extent to which the Huffington Post, on the subject of Israel, Zionism and the Jews, embraces ignorance and forgoes intellectual honesty. The community in general not only is unaware of the facts of a given situation, they don't particularly want to learn the whole story. They are much happier to hear what they want to hear and recite talking points into the ether. And unfortunately this is not merely an isolated case, but has existed ever since I began "watching" the Huffington Post last year. Let me give you just a few recent examples:

1. The Lebanon Tree Incident: The truth eventually came out that Israel was in the right and Lebanon acted aggressively and opened fire for really no reason. Check out the thread. The anti-Zionists who are there (and there aren't many) either complain that the UN was wrong, that Israel was still actively provocatively even though they didn't cross the border, or any number of other excuses to admit that Lebanon was right. Tactics that would, were it Israel's defenders using them instead of it's critics, have been the source of much scorn and derision. There are no anti-Zionists on that thread admitting they were wrong and that Israel was not responsible for the firefight.

2. The Flotilla Raid: Even three months later the Huffington Post continues to carry this story, and the truth has long been known about the true nature of the "activists" on the Mavi Marmara. Despite this, anti-Zionists continue to proclaim that the IDF "executed nine unarmed activists." Read the latest thread on that topic, and you will see that it is simply the same talking points spinning around and around and around. Even when links are brought in to provide more information on the incident, they are either ignored or dismissed.

3. Shimon Peres' British Scandal: This one is a little bit more simple. It was alleged that Shimon Peres called Britain "anti-Semitic," and the article on the HP was about him denying that this was true. But as I wrote at the time, the talkbackers on the thread didn't even stop to read the article before complaining that Israel "always" tries to silence its critics with the race card. The actual content of the story was immaterial, they had talking points to share and so they went ahead and did so.

Now, some of this culture of ignorance is due to the Huffington Posts reporting. For instance Matt and I know a lot of the information about the flotilla raid because we read many blogs about the topic, but we can't expect all the readers on the Huffington Post to due to the same. Regardless, it is very informative no that only do the anti-Zionists not know many inconvenient truths about the people on the Mavi Marmara, they also don't want to know. I think that's more of a problem.

2 comments:

  1. I think the problem is lazy people unwilling to do their own homework and learn the truth for themselves.

    It reminds me of Plato's famous Allegory Of The Cave. Those who see only what is front of them will never see the whole picture.

    And the anti-Zios see only those aspects of Israel they want to see and they ignore or dismiss the rest that isn't keeping with their image of the country as a brutal regime that must be erased from the earth.

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  2. I admire what you are doing and support you completely. I come to your site to be informed, though seeing the ignorance and dishonesty that is out there is hard to stomach. Thank you for your efforts!

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Hey guys we've started to employ a slight comment policy. We used to have completely open comments but then people abused it. So our comment policy is such: No obvious trolling or spamming. And be warned: unlike the Huffington Post we actually enforce our comment policy.