Thursday, November 09, 2006

Conservatwits, comment moderation and the ABC link

Comment mod can be useful, and I've seen a few liberal bloggers use it after being deluged with abusive messages from right-wingnuts. But it usually only stays on til someone jangles a set of keys in front of the offenders and distracts them, then it goes off again. Progressive bloggers aren't fond of censorship. Not so with conservatives, though. It seems like a lot of them either use comment moderation to pick and choose which comments they'll publish or they don't allow comments at all and their blogs are little more than repositories for their regurgitations, they could care less what their readers think.

Admittedly I'm an infrequent reader of conservative blogs, and there are a few where the level of stupidity is so toxically high that I just don't bother. But once in awhile I'll see a post at the Blog Exchange that looks especially cretinous and I can't resist checking it out. And 9 times out of 10, they use comment mod, so any rebuttal I post ends up in the virtual round file. I should point out that when posting in enemy territory, I conduct myself with the utmost civility, not like here where I'll say any fucking thing I damn well please, goddamnit.

I saw a post yesterday that I felt, in the interest of truth, I had to rebut. It made the proveably false assertion that abortion causes breast cancer (the so-called "ABC link"). I know a lot about breast cancer having had it myself 7 years ago, and when you get something like that the first thing you do is research the shit out of it. Out of the entire bookshelf I've got relegated to breast cancer, of all the supposed risk factors detailed in all those books, the one that's been the most thoroughly debunked is the "ABC" link. But the blog in question is citing studies from 1994, when such a link was still being explored. Newer studies (2004) have not only refuted the supposed link, but ironically even showed that early abortions were actually linked to a reduced risk for breast cancer. (Not that this is a good reason to have an abortion, but just to show how ludicrous the ABC link really is.) Given the choice between an obscure study from 1994 cited by some nitwit anti-choice blogger, and a study from 2004 cited by the world's foremost breast cancer expert, Dr. Susan Love, I know who I'm gonna believe.

I posted a message telling this blogger that his information was outdated and erroneous with a link to more recent studies and a mild admonishment about posting something so blatantly misleading. Then my message disappeared into the purgatory of comment moderation, and has yet to emerge. And never will. Ya know, anyone who's intellectually honest would be happy to have their erroneous information corrected. I mean, who wants their stupidity displayed on the internet for the whole world to see? At the very least, I'd expect opposing views to be acknowleged and maybe debated. Certainly if one feels they've got a solid argument there shouldn't be any problem standing up for it. That is, unless your only purpose is to disseminate frightening misinformation that serves your agenda. That's why bloggers who post bullshit like this are so enamoured of comment moderation. They post a frightening title, lay out a bunch of misinformation backed up by outdated studies, and click: their job is done. The last thing they want is someone interjecting some, uh, reality. If it doesn't serve the agenda, into the round file with it.

It used to amuse me, this "dishing it out but not taking it" phenomenon among right-wing bloggers, but when I see bullshit posted for the express purpose of scaring people, with no chance for rebuttal, it's less funny. Scare tactics and misinformation are the best strategies the anti-choice crew can come up with, they're not even open to discussion, and they wonder why they have trouble being taken seriously?