After my experience at another website which shall remain nameless(don’t worry, it’s pretty dead now anyway), I promised myself I would never go online and bash another political website. Recent events, however, have persuaded me to make an exception. Just this once.
For the past several years I have been at least a semi-regular contributor and commenter at Jane Hamsher’s Fire Dog Lake(FDL). I really liked the place, in spite of its not-so-user-friendly format(IMHO) and its built-in sunset provision on how long comments could be posted on any one thread. I learned a lot there, and virtually met a lot of intelligent and thoughtful people, especially on the MyFDL section, where anybody could register and post their own thoughts on things political for years.
Lots of real leftists wound up there, posting about all sorts of things going on in the world that the American corporate media simply refused to publish or so badly slanted to fits its own political agenda that anyone who relied on them for their news was horribly misinformed. MyFDL clearly had a measurable impact in the political blogosphere in general, and even got Jane Hamsher onto a few corporate talking head shows, such as Morning Joe. It didn’t get as much attention as something like the Huffington Post, but it was much more welcoming to detailed expressions of real leftist American(and other) thought and opinion. FDL had value.
Starting last year, however, things started to change. More and more pop up ads which seemed to really slow the site down started appearing. Jane Hamsher and her moderators repeatedly asked for money, and for the last several months have been complaining about “denial of service” attacks on the site from nefarious enemies of free speech.
Then came a ban on all new MyFDL posters, though a select few somehow got on anyway. For the last several weeks, it has been impossible for me and others to even log on most of the time. For example, I tried to log on a few minutes ago and got this.
Yep, a blank screen. One post I made there, the same piece on Iran and nuclear weapons you can see on this blog, was made over two weeks ago, and is still in the MyFDL “most recommended” with zero comments. This would have been absolutely impossible just a few months ago.
I know that the FDL administrators claim that they have to move to a new server in order to blunt all of the alleged “denial of service” attacks. I’m sorry, but I don’t believe them. I’m no Information Tech guy, but I do know that it is possible to buy excellent protective software which will mostly stop such things. I also know that Jane Hamsher, who lives in the DC suburbs, can certainly afford to do so. If much smaller sites can avoid such things, FDL certainly can, especially with all of the revenue generated by those obnoxious pop-up ads.
Napoleon’s dictum, “Never attribute to malice what is more easily explained by incompetence or stupidity” is one of my favorites. In this case, however, it is difficult to apply. It is difficult for me to believe that the FDL administration is so incompetent or stupid that they can’t figure out how to block a shitload of spam, which is really what a denial of service attack is, from their website, and I know they’re not stupid. I doubt they’re that incompetent. So.
What follows is sheer speculation on my part. I suspect that Jane Hamsher wants to achieve a status in the political talking head world similar to that of Arianna Huffington. In order to do so, her website must be seen in the corporate media as some sort of acceptable “progressive” website. Real leftist perspectives are definitely NOT acceptable to the corporate media because they do things like, you know, call for the replacement of capitalism and things like that.
Real leftists also make it impossible for Democratic Party hacks to pretend that they are somehow to the “left,” or even progressive, whatever that means. Real leftists, you see, have this annoying tendency to use facts, reason, and logic to back up their arguments, in contrast to what the Democratic Party has become, which was beautifully summed up by Jon Stewart on the Daily Show a few years back:
When Democrats take on Republicans these days, their battle cry is “We suck less!”
Anyone who finds that point of view inadequate is labeled either a Republican provocative agent or mentally ill by the Democratic Party. The latter accusation was frequently used by Stalin, BTW; Democratic apologists get really upset if you point that out.
Anyway, over the last several years, those who I call Democratic Party cheerleaders were pretty much run off of FDL by real leftists. They just couldn’t hang because their vapid arguments could not withstand real scrutiny from the intelligent and informed left, which often appeared on the site.
Therefore, if Jane Hamsher wants to make any sort of splash in the political talking head world and reap the financial benefits thereof, her site must be purged of the Real Left. It must be made safe for Hillary supporters and thus, MyFDL as we have known it must be destroyed. It can’t be made public, though; wouldn’t be prudent. So just do a “server migration” and then quietly keep all those inconvenient leftists from logging in. So sorry, couldn’t be helped.
Am I right? I really don’t know for sure. Time will answer that question.
I would have posted something like this on FDL but, alas, I can’t log in. Haven’t been able to log in with that one exception I mentioned above for over a month. So I’ll do it here because this is my blog and I can. If you are, or were, a real leftist on FDL, feel free to vent freely on the subject here with the caveat below. But only on this particular post. I will NOT allow my blog to become a place dominated by people bashing another site, just as I will not allow myself to fixate on the subject for long, either. We all have bigger steaks to grill.
And have a nice day.
Note to any FDLers who want to comment on this: Click on the about thingie at the top of the blog FYI. Any new comment by someone new here must be moderated, by me, because I reserve the right to block spammers and trolls, and my time is limited. If you do comment, I might not be able to get to it until the following evening because I work all day. I’ll no doubt approve your comment and send you an invite to comment freely in the future. Apologies in advance for the delay.