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


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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1 year ago

Comments are not showing up.

2 years ago

It is vital to the Nation that Free Political Speech is restored, no matter how distasteful. Even the extremist must be heard and debated or their causes will gain public support.

2 years ago

Like most things, conservatives have their head deeply implanted, while liberals are tirelessly coordinating building a police state. Disqus? OpenWeb? Do conservative websites even look into these gatekeepers before they sign contracts?

2 years ago

Forcing people to use the Dissenter browser as a condition for commenting shuts out some people. It is too heavy a demand. I think it will bite them.

2 years ago

If I am unable to retort publicly to published opinion, then I will simply not read it.