Saturday, June 06, 2009

Instead of a comment ...


... by a man whose comments get deleted when they become embarrassing to the proprietor of Barely A Blog.

I'm not going to whine about "censorship." Ilana Mercer owns the place, and I'd never set forth the claim that she's not within her rights to selectively withhold commenting privileges there. It's her place. This place is my place, and using it to expose falsehood and cowardice, even of a minor and petty sort, seems like as good a purpose as any for it.

Our little saga begins with Ms. Mercer's latest column, "Beware of 'Absolut' Libertarian Lunacy" (the link is to the excerpt at Barely A Blog -- click here for the full column at WorldNetDaily).

As I'm occasionally inclined to do when reading blogs (even if they're just barely blogs), I posted a comment. If you're interested in the comment, feel free to read it, but it's not really the point. The point is that Ms. Mercer's retort included a factual error:

My column is never ever carried on the restricted libertarian organ you run.


To which I replied:

Actually, it is -- when one of our editors notices that you've written a piece that he or she thinks our readers will find interesting.


And then Ms. Mercer again:

Manifestly untrue. I read your news items regularly; my column is NEVER carried by your mouthpiece.


Seems like a simple enough question to answer, so I did ... and she deleted that answer. So here it is for those who care one way or another:

Racism or realism? by Ilana Mercer
War apologists still unapologetic by Ilana Mercer
Remember Reno! by Ilana Mercer
Paris's plight by Ilana Mercer
Granny's home is government's castle by Ilana Mercer
At least Saddam kept order by Ilana Mercer
The unbearable nothingness of news by Ilana Mercer
Conservatives for killing Terri by Ilana Mercer
Is the FBI entrapping idiots? by Ilana Mercer
Harvard hucksters hype Israeli pseudo-historians by Ilana Mercer
Virtuous Vikings by Ilana Mercer
Is Israel done for? by Ilana Mercer
The plight that never shuts up by Ilana Mercer
"A Christmas Story:" Nullified by the state by Ilana Mercer
Iraq -- the war and its cost by Ilana Mercer
About those 650 thou dead in Iraq by Ilana Mercer
Mel's "malady;" Foxman's fetish by Ilana Mercer
Shafting boys by Ilana Mercer
Bush to complete Comrade Kennedy's mission by Ilana Mercer
Dear Al (Zarqawi) by Ilana Mercer
Saddam's much-missed suzerainty by Ilana Mercer
Those cartoons: A reply to Walter Block by Ilana Mercer
Democracy a la Dubya by Ilana Mercer
Jack Bauer: The state's bitch by Ilana Mercer
Capital flight by Ilana Mercer
Shades of Waco? by Ilana Mercer
Israel's folly by Ilana Mercer
The Chinese visit by Ilana Mercer
The Iraq Study Group's magic realism by Ilana Mercer
A storm in a teacup, apparently by Ilana Mercer

Those are the articles that a simple Google search turned up on Ye Aulde "restricted libertarian organ." I suspect they constitute a fraction of the total body of Ms. Mercer's verbiage which have appeared in that publication over the years, given that a good three years of back issues got lost in a database crash. For a few years before that, Ms. Mercer's columns were covered with some regularity by a predecessor publication (the "old" Freedom News Daily) which I helped put together.

I try not to make a habit of trolling for gratitude -- our standard of coverage is whether or not our audience will find the material interesting, not whether or not the material's author sucks up to us -- but when someone tells a lie about me, and then pusillanimously attempts to cover up that lie, well, I've got a blog too.

Selah.

Update: Ms. Mercer, to her credit, has edited the entry in question to reflect our little spat. I'm happy to reciprocate in kind.

Yes, as Ms. Mercer notes -- and as I didn't notice -- it's been awhile since one of her columns has appeared in RRND/FND.

Why might that be? I'll be honest here: I'm not sure.

One easy guess is that it had something to do with a personal email exchange between myself and Ms. Mercer which didn't end especially well in terms of our personal regard for each other. Before readers start tittering and making weird eye gestures, no, it was nothing like that -- without going into any more detail than necessary to squash such rumors before they start, it had to do with me being insufficiently respectful (in Ms. Mercer's view) toward a particular publication which she considered valuable.

That easy guess would be wrong: Many of her columns' appearances in RRND/FND post-date that little personal teacup tempest, and many of those later columns were personally entered into RRND/FND's database by me.

Nor does it have anything to do with me being a "left-libertarian" and Ms. Mercer being a Woman of the Right, or with Ms. Mercer being a woman in general, or with my dislike of her evangelism for the beliefs of the Hoppe/Brimelow Borders Cult. RRND/FND links and blurbs to any number of "right-wing" publications and articles, articles by women, and articles by anti-immigration writers, even writers much less sophisticated in their analyses than Ms. Mercer. We link to just about anything that we believe may be of interest to libertarian readers, and don't require that the things we link to pass any particular litmus test of libertarianism itself. The only real blacklisting criterion we adhere to is that we don't publish clearly racist (including anti-Semitic) material.

My best guess as to why it's been awhile since one of Ms. Mercer's columns appeared in RRND/FND is this:

Awhile back, I and my fellow editors did some "source trading." We picked publications that we were personally tired of covering, threw them into a common pool, and each editor picked different publications to cover from that pool. The idea was to reduce each editor's personal tedium level.

I distinctly recall that one of the pubs I threw into the common pool during that exercise was WorldNetDaily, where Ms. Mercer's column appears -- not because I dislike Ms. Mercer's writing (that's very much not the case), but because it she was the only columnist at WND whose work I hadn't become tired of reading on a weekly basis.

Apparently Ms. Mercer's column got "lost in the shuffle" -- the editor who picked up WND either lost it off "radar" (possibly because it appears on Friday, usually after our editors have finished putting together the last edition of the week) or didn't find it interesting (I doubt that, but it's possible).

I can and will fix that by the simple expedient of personally taking charge of Ms. Mercer's column as a publication in its own right as opposed to part of some other editor's larger coverage responsibilities.

And now, back to our regular programming.

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