Saturday, March 3, 2007

Huffington Post fires back over hate accusations

Tuesday, after the assassination attempt on Vice President Cheney in Afghanistan, a few anonymous writers posted comments on the Huffington Post lamenting that the attempt failed.

Site administrators spotted the abusive remarks and immediately deleted them.

Rude, inappropriate commentary is part of the price for the internet's freedom of speech, and Huffington Post acted correctly in removing it as soon as it appeared. However, the right-wing spin machine seized on the incident and characterized the episode as proof that all liberals are "people who would celebrate a successful attack on the life of the vice president."

As Arianna Huffington points out in her trenchant response to charges from Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity,Dean Barnett and others, hate speech occurs on both extremes of the political spectrum, and finds platforms where it can express itself all across the Internet.

For the right to characterize it as the exclusive expression of the left is especially hypocritical, in light of odious pundits like Ann Coulter, who has "humorously" called for the murder of Bill Clinton and Justice Stevens.

Talk on the Internet can be extraordinarily vulgar, violent and inexcusable. Talk on the mainstream media can be equally so. The difference is that the anonymous posters lack the infrastructure of major publishes and cable networks to legitimize their hatred.

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