The Guardian, Britain’s left-wing newspaper, has decided to ban or limit comments on articles that deal with immigration, race or Islam. The paper’s explanation is interesting:
Certain subjects – race, immigration and Islam in particular – attract an unacceptable level of toxic commentary, believes Mary Hamilton, our executive editor, audience.
By “race, immigration and Islam,” she means Islamic immigration. This is of course a controversial subject. What does she mean by “toxic”?
“The overwhelming majority of these comments tend towards racism,…
What does it mean to tend toward racism? I suspect that in the Guardian’s view, any expression of skepticism about the wisdom of mass immigration from Islamic countries “tend[s] toward racism.”
…abuse of vulnerable subjects,…
By “vulnerable subjects,” the Guardian editor does not mean the thousands of women who have been sexually assaulted by Islamic migrants.
Does “author abuse” mean something more than disagreeing with the (left-wing) author? One would have to judge that comment by comment.
…and trolling, and the resulting conversations below the line bring very little value but cause consternation and concern among both our readers and our journalists,” she said last week.
In my opinion, a large majority of comments on newspaper sites “bring very little value.” Is this especially true of articles on Islamic immigration? I don’t think so. It is interesting that “caus[ing] consternation” among “our journalists” is now a ground for restricting comments.
As a result, it had been decided that comments would not be opened on pieces on those three topics unless the moderators knew they had the capacity to support the conversation and that they believed a positive debate was possible.
I am not sure when European leftists think that a positive debate on immigration is possible, given that they reflexively label anyone who expresses concerns about mass immigration “far right.” Can the Guardian have a “positive debate on immigration” with the “far right”? I doubt it. Hence, no comments.
This was not a retreat from commenting as a whole, she said; it was an acknowledgement, however, that some conversations had become toxic at an international level – “a change in mainstream public opinion and language that we do not wish to see reflected or supported on the site”.
This is a fascinating sentence. It acknowledges that there has been a change in “mainstream public opinion,” which, as a result of experience, has turned against mass immigration all across Europe. So what the Guardian has always sneered at as “far right” is now the majority view. Will that cause the Guardian to rethink its open borders position? Of course not! The paper “do[es] not wish to see” the majority’s opinion “reflected or supported on the site.”
Voila! If you see an opinion you disagree with–strongly, on an issue you care about–block it. That is the liberal way.