Andrew Bolt has clearly been sweating bullets since Pure Poison was launched. Just now he has written about us for the third time since we kicked off last Thursday, and for the third time he has refused to name or link to this blog for fear that his readers might get the other side of his paranoid story and make up their own minds.

As part of Bolta’s campaign to misinform his readers he has mercilessly chopped up my words, conveniently leaving out links to proof of his biased, unfair and unethical comment moderation practices. Here’s what I wrote on Friday.

Anybody who has been unlucky enough to spend time wading through the comment threads at Bolt or Blair’s blogs know that their commenters (supporters and opponents) can say some pretty poisonous things. However, the uneven moderation policy at both sites tends to filter out a lot of comments that are roughly critical of the writers, on the grounds that they use abusive language or that the commenter is “trolling” (repeating themselves over and over.) The hypocrisy is stark given that the same abusive language and trolling behaviours are apparent in (published) supportive comments.

The best part about all of this is that Bolta has the nerve to link commenting at his blog to exercising free speech! Hands up if you’ve ever had a comment rejected at his blog. Hands up if it was nowhere near as poisonous as a published comment who agreed with the writer.

And it’s not just moderation with extreme prejudice at play here. Comments at Bolt’s (not sure about Blair’s) are routinely “snipped” if Mr Bolt becomes bored with reading them, and comments at Bolt’s have even been outright edited for content. In that particular case, when the commenter in question asked for an explanation he was labelled a “troll” and told to go away.

So it’s time for Pure Poison to use the combined resources of its readership to collect the most poisonous examples of comments at the blogs of Andrew Bolt and Tim Blair. Every month I’ll kick off a comment thread where you can cut-and-paste the poisonous comments you find (try to include a link where possible.) Remember that we’re looking for poisonous comments from commenters who agree and disagree with Bolt and Blair.

I’ll place a link to this post at the top of the sidebar so it’s easy to find once it sinks down the page.

Have at it!

And here’s that same block of text with the bits that Andrew didn’t reprint for his readers crossed out.

Anybody who has been unlucky enough to spend time wading through the comment threads at Bolt or Blair’s blogs know that their commenters (supporters and opponents) can say some pretty poisonous things. However, the uneven moderation policy at both sites tends to filter out a lot of comments that are roughly critical of the writers, on the grounds that they use abusive language or that the commenter is “trolling” (repeating themselves over and over.) The hypocrisy is stark given that the same abusive language and trolling behaviours are apparent in (published) supportive comments.

The best part about all of this is that Bolta has the nerve to link commenting at his blog to exercising free speech! Hands up if you’ve ever had a comment rejected at his blog. Hands up if it was nowhere near as poisonous as a published comment who agreed with the writer.

And it’s not just moderation with extreme prejudice at play here. Comments at Bolt’s (not sure about Blair’s) are routinely “snipped” if Mr Bolt becomes bored with reading them, and comments at Bolt’s have even been outright edited for content. In that particular case, when the commenter in question asked for an explanation he was labelled a “troll” and told to go away.

So it’s time for Pure Poison to use the combined resources of its readership to collect the most poisonous examples of comments at the blogs of Andrew Bolt and Tim Blair. Every month I’ll kick off a comment thread where you can cut-and-paste the poisonous comments you find (try to include a link where possible.) Remember that we’re looking for poisonous comments from commenters who agree and disagree with Bolt and Blair.

I’ll place a link to this post at the top of the sidebar so it’s easy to find once it sinks down the page.

Have at it!

Bolt also implies that the editor of Crikey, Jonathan Green, has tried to weasel out of denying his publication’s involvement in supposed planting of racist comments at Bolt’s blog by Pure Poison, calling Green’s denial a “non-reply”. Here is Green’s “non-reply”.

The claim in this post that an internet publication connected to Crikey publisher Eric Beecher might be making mischievous postings on this and other blogs is utterly without foundation. We presume Andrew is referring to Crikey. Presumably not to Business Spectator or the other finance-based titles in Mr Beecher’s Private Media stable. We have not made, nor have any persons connected to Crikey made, any comment posts on the Bolt blog aimed at testing the boundaries of the blog’s moderation policy. We do not do this, would not do this, and resent the implication that we might have done this. The suggestion above borders on the defamatory.

Seems pretty bloody clear to me.

UPDATE: Just for clarity, I know that Bolt is very carefully and disingenuously ensuring that he never accuses us or other Crikey staff of actually writing the comments, sticking with the line that we’re encouraging them, but there’s what you say by saying it, and what you say by not saying it. It’s like Donald Rumsfeld’s “known knowns” thang, but different.

UPDATE II: Chances of this comment getting approved?

UPDATE III: Comment approved with — surprise, surprise! — modifications.

So Bolt and his moderators go to extreme lengths to replace “Pure Poison” with “ERIC BEECHER’S SITE” in all approved comments (including mine), and then carelessly leave our blog’s name in the first reply to my modified comments. Slick, Bolt. Slick.

UPDATE IV: (This is all getting very Blair with the updates, innit?) Mere minutes after I published update III the comment containing our blog’s name was disappeared.

UPDATE V: Oh, dear. Bolt’s moderators aren’t having a very good night, with a link to Pure Poison slipping through in a comment by Tobias and remaining on the site for nearly an hour despite “Infidel Tiger” dobbing on him.

UPDATE VI: (This update thing is fun! No wonder Tim loves it.) Jeremy wins best SNIP ever.

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