No Room for Reason

The Moderate Voice, a website on which, occasionally, a certain talking dog cross-posts, has been the subject of a recent series of cyber-attacks designed to silence it.
Thing is, the site is called “the moderate voice” because it’s actually non-partisan: TMV editor-in-chief Joe Gandelman (himself a long-time pro-journalist) has invited countless bloggers over the years from every part of the political spectrum… it really is “politically moderate” when viewed as a whole. Alas, in the course of that, some posts from some perspectives will inevitably piss off someone… and now, that we have a thin-skinned whiner-in-chief (with no concern for the consequences to actual people of his whining), there’s really no telling where this will go.
Part of the advantage of having less traffic than the main streets of most ghost towns is a certain freedom from this sort of thing; back when this blog was more “popular” (meaning a few hundred hits a day, as opposed to a few hundred hits a month), I would get comments of all kinds (some in complete agreement with me, and others simply wrong!), and I would be noted on other blogs, sometimes favorably, and sometimes not (btw, lefty blogs would occasionally attack me; righty blogs would sometimes speak nicely.) I should add that, on occasion, someone would break through my poorly kept defenses and learn my secret identity and try to threaten my career, for example… yes, bloggy “success.” Now… no one pretty much cares what I write, near as I can tell.
Meanwhile, in the broader world, where blogs are still read (such as TMV), “attacks” are no longer just rhetorical– but are aimed at actually shutting down transmission of a message one doesn’t like. TMV, according to the post noted, gets around 9,000 hits a day these days; doesn’t seem like that broad a reach in a world with over one and a half billion Facebook users, for example… but if the right someone is pissed off (and, chillingly, TMV apparently posts a lot of posts, including cartoons and the like, that are mocking of our president-elect)… well, attack on service attacks seem to follow… as Joe Gandelman noted… like clockwork.
And, of course, in at least one case in the real world, someone was so incensed at what he read on the internet (in this case, the “fake news” story linking Hillary Clinton, John Podesta, a Washington, D.C. pizza parlor and an alleged pedophilia ring), that a gunman entered the pizzeria and actually fired shots, “looking for the kids” in his own vigilante “rescue operation.” He promptly surrendered when he “didn’t find the kids.”
In short, there is craziness (mixed with stupidity) out there, aplenty. We live in a world where our incoming president-elect has expressed great admiration for Russian leader Vladimir Putin (and, evidently, news seems to be emerging that the relationship might be much closer than that). We note that Mr. Putin is a man even whose admirers might observe is no fan of a free press (others suggest that he has ordered repression and outright murder of journalists who piss him off), and Mr. Trump has pretty much expressed “press-hostile” sentiments of his own. This all presents a situation where those of us who operate expecting First Amendment freedom of expression a requirement of extreme vigilance as things develop. In the case of TMV, this has meant nimble technical responses to stay online… who knows how much further this will go.
Short answer: stay alert. Not even being “even-handed” will provide cover these days; only robust support of our freedoms can do that… this will take a huge effort from all of us. All of us.