American Thinker shuts down comments: shut down the comments or shut down the site – Update

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Update: AT brought the comments back. That certainly didn’t last long. They arranged for commenting through Dissenter (Gab) browser and they are commenting. This is the latest statement: UPDATE: I have been advised that, if you wish to continue commenting, you can do so through the Dissenter Browser. Learn about it here. That comment function is entirely separate from American Thinker or, indeed, from any site about which you comment.

On January 14, American Thinker founder Thomas Lifson published a blog post about shutting down the comment section. An update to the post said it was either that or shut down the website. AT appears to be very worried about the comments they are getting. The blog post didn’t explain anything. It did say people who read AT are upset about the elimination of the comments, but it didn’t dissuade them.

It’s a sorry world that they can’t even have a comment section. We don’t really have free speech in this country any longer. It’s especially unfortunate for a blog that produces thoughtful, intelligent opinion pieces worthy of discussion.

The post:

It is news to almost nobody who reads American Thinker that a political witch hunt is underway. Parties in and out of government are looking for excuses to suppress and destroy voices that oppose the left.

Because AT lacks the ability to monitor comments in real time, and because our position that comments are a forum, not something we publish, is being called into question, we can no longer publish comments.

We take this action with a heavy heart.

follow-up post by Deputy Editor Andrea Widburg said it’s either the comments or the entire blog:

Yesterday, we announced that we are closing comments at American Thinker. We immediately received a couple of hundred very unhappy, angry, and sometimes insulting emails about that decision. Without divulging why we made that decision, here are a few points to ponder.

First, 90% of the assumptions in the emails were wrong. This meant that a lot of people were theorizing in advance of their data. America is currently deeply destabilized, and things are happening that most people can’t imagine. Sometimes, those things hit close to home.

Second, it’s lovely that many of you came here for the conversation in the comments. To have the comments abruptly turned off was the equivalent of our breaking up your party, the great party at which all the guests were interesting and delightful. We appreciate what an unpleasant shock and disappointment that was, and we hate to be the mean parent who broke up the party, but, again, sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

Third, this site is a labor of love for everyone involved, especially for its founder, Thomas Lifson. If you imagine that he would ever authorize such a difficult decision when there were other choices to be made, well, you don’t know Thomas. All of us who work here agree that the choice was binary: shut down the comments or shut down the site. Or to use an analogy, amputate the limb or watch the patient die. Looked at from that perspective, there really was no choice.

Fortunately, Sentinel doesn’t worry about comments – yet. We never get that many for some reason, even on viral articles.

Our new reality is that if the comments on a blog are too harsh or somewhat offensive, the blog becomes a target. That’s the reality in our Woke world.


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Show me
Show me
1 year ago

This means people should self moderate, be careful not to be insulting or inflammatory.
Be grateful for the opportunity to express one’s thoughts.

Dave Coleman
Dave Coleman
1 year ago
Reply to  Show me

I agree people should be courteous. Insulting or inflammatory? Relative terms. If I wrote that I don’t understand how modern, educated people could believe that the story of Noah’s Ark is literally true, many fundamentalist Christians would be “insulted.” If I write that there is plenty of evidence that the election was stolen from President Trump, many on the left would find that “inflammatory.” Comment boards enforce rules against specifically inciting violence against specific people or groups, but that’s about all you can do and still allow free expression.

Gadsden Forlorn
Gadsden Forlorn
1 year ago
Reply to  Show me

Yes, I appreciate the Independent Sentinel for having a comments section that is easy to use and doesn’t require a paid account or ask for every detail about you. But honestly, the way socialists ruin everything they can see and find, I don’t expect ANY sites on the internet to survive without following their edicts. Everyone will get unplugged. No advertising. No payment processing. No server. That’s the American communist way. In a couple of years, we’ll look to Iran, North Korea and China for more favorable terms and more liberty on web (and eventually App Store) hosting. You think I’m joking.

yigablademaster
yigablademaster
8 months ago

We are not that far from it with you know who ‘selected’ in office. We lost our mighty nation but our founding fathers did warn us we can have a republic if ‘we can keep it’.

If we cease to be a Christian valued nation at an individual level we will cease to be a republic. Even Non Christians till recent decades generally followed Judeo values of right and wrong.

They may not understand why they do but they did understood stealing/murder was very very wrong for the most part so if you DID do those things you’d be shamed and no longer accepted.

But today it’s a free for all ‘I want it MY way!’ mindset: Like Ringo Stars new hit song ‘Let’s Change The World’ everyone is doing just that to their own image.

Do you like it?

Daniel Silvan
Daniel Silvan
1 year ago
Reply to  Show me

It is simply impossible not to insult or be inflammatory to the people who walk around perpetually insulted. Those types mission in life is to twist and misconstrue other’s words and point fingers. The reality of the situation is that they are the ones who are being inflammatory. Their complaints are just the first step in silencing everyone who isn’t in lockstep with their agendas.

stpaulchuck
stpaulchuck
1 year ago
Reply to  Daniel Silvan

right on DS. The perpetually offended exercise power over others with their moronic complaints so they keep it up as long as anyone will pay attention.

elizabethrc
elizabethrc
1 year ago
Reply to  Show me

Are the media “giants” censoring the innumerable hate filled comments by democrats and leftists toward Republicans? No, I didn’t think so. There is nothing high minded about these censors. The goal is to destroy the Republican party and make this a one party nation. There is a word for that form of governance.

Dougral
Dougral
1 year ago
Reply to  Show me

AT commenters for the most part were quite moderate and the trolls didn’t dominate there like they do on some sites. It could have been the Dominion stuff that got them as there were several articles dealing with that issue.. No one from the site told us anything and that is disquieting in light of the Parler shutdown and the non-answers John Matze got from all of the sites that he believed were alternatives. There’s more than a whiff of “offer you can’t refuse” in the air.

None of your business
None of your business
1 year ago

He apologized to Dominion. Unforgivable.

jack johnson
jack johnson
1 year ago

AT was basically threatened to apologize to Dominion and delete it`s comments or be sued into oblivion. They might as well shut down the site because there really is no reason to go there….the commenters were more poignant than the articles.

I haven`t visited the Federalist since they shut down their comments….same goes for AT.

johnnyuinta
johnnyuinta
1 year ago
Reply to  jack johnson

I agree 100% Jack. Rather than fight Dominion, they caved by apologizing and banning comments. They are dead…just like the Federalist. I exchanged emails with Andrea Widburg yesterday and today…she refused to tell me what had happened. I had to find out for myself on RT.
If techno companies and their army of lawyers can shut down free speech, we are all doomed.

marcorpa
marcorpa
1 year ago
Reply to  johnnyuinta

We need to change the laws that permit this assault on the First Amendment. It is lawfare blackmail and anyone who believes in the First Amendment knows it.

Woody White
Woody White
1 year ago
Reply to  jack johnson

That always seems to be the way it is: the comments are far more informative than the article. Yahoo News was famous for that until they stopped comments.

elizabethrc
elizabethrc
1 year ago
Reply to  jack johnson

We need to keep in mind that they cannot shut down our opinions, our thoughts and our votes and our actions.

Gundog 9mm
Gundog 9mm
1 year ago
Reply to  elizabethrc

Sadly “they” the far leftist Marxist Power Elite CAN and have shut down our vote. When 80 million voters have been nullified and a brain-dead candidate who hardly ever left his burrow and only attracted a few placid followers can win an election our votes (voice) has been effectively shut down !

DeeJay
DeeJay
1 year ago
Reply to  elizabethrc

They can only shut down our expression of them….and that is the point in actuality.

Herbert
Herbert
1 year ago
Reply to  elizabethrc

They just proved they can shut down your votes

american-thinker-embellishment
american-thinker-embellishment
1 year ago

The guy at American Thinker shutdown the comments and after an immediate backlash from his readers, turned the comments back on the next day. Go look at his comments section; it’s active. He got called out for embellishing (outright lied about) his claims of being asked to shutdown comments or shutdown the website. It didn’t happen and he got exposed.

Gadsden Forlorn
Gadsden Forlorn
1 year ago

Well, if if it didn’t happen, it will now. Self-fulfilling prophecy. He’ll get the Parler treatment as penance for his viral hoax.

johnnyuinta
johnnyuinta
1 year ago

Comments are NOT turned on, what are you talking about. Click on the comments….nothing happens.

Iron
Iron
1 year ago

I see that people are afraid of the communist. They will keep winning if you are afraid of them. There is no sense if people cannot say what they want. Ok, it is your site, I know that, but tell us what is not allowed, or else do not have a comments section. I am sick of this censoring myself. I would shut down all of the communist news media and web sites if I could, but they have a right to say what they want. I do not have to listen to them or read there commie b.s.

NickSJ
NickSJ
1 year ago

This is like 1930’s Germany. More and more websites (like publications then) are getting shut down or censored, and free speech is dwindling day by day for those who oppose the ruling party line. When the Dems are fully in charge, it will only get worse.

SchmuelyGeldgrubber
SchmuelyGeldgrubber
1 year ago
Reply to  NickSJ

Does it? Does it feel like 1930’s Germany when 4 companies owned or managed by jews operating under a speech code given to them by a jew supremacist jewish racial advocacy group called the Anti Defamation League of B’nai Brith controlled everything that people were allowed to say in public and would call up other jewish people managing banking corporations to get them to shut down your bank account and deny you access to credit processing for non-violent speech and also call other jewish people working in media to slander you as a racist terrorist to anyone who might employ or associate with you in the future?

Was it a little bit like that in the 1930’s in Germany too?

If so,maybe that guy with the funny mustache might have been on to something when he decided that Germans couldn’t trust these people. Just something not very patriotic or fair about them.

GuvGeek
GuvGeek
1 year ago
Reply to  M Dowling

If we don’t allow the Anti-Semites to spew their hatred, we will forget that they exist to our own peril. Don’t silence them, debate them so everyone sees that they are just plain wrong. The religion of the Tech Giants is irrelevant, the fact that they are monopolies engaging in actions contrary to antitrust law is the real issue. The fact that the Federal Government is allowing this should concern every American! The fact that the Federal Government refused to properly investigate allegations of election fraud makes the Federal Government’s moral authority questionable. In a Free Nation when the Government loses moral authority, it can’t govern. That should frighten everyone!