Banned! Boy, you really are a mean one, Mr. Gingrich!
Earlier this week, while Newt was in the throes of his short-lived front-runner status, basking in the glow of fickle right wing love, a PoliticusUSA reader tried to leave a few comments for the man who thinks he should be President to no avail. Apparently this reader is not alone in being banned for not worshiping the Newt.
Newt’s biggest Facebook page opens with the invitation to click “like” to be a part of the “national conversation.” It turns out that Newt’s “conversations” are really not conversations, but more unilateral communications whittled down to only those who agree with him 100% and do not question any of his statements.
After all, the reader didn’t curse or call him names. She did question his notion of putting poor children to work, something many Americans are also questioning. Wouldn’t this have a been a great opportunity for the publicity entourage behind him to leave a note explaining away Newt’s gaffe? Instead, the reader was banned.
First she was deleted off of both of his pages for leaving a comment that included the video “You’re a mean one, Newt Gingrich.”
So then she figured okay, he doesn’t like that video, so she posted a Fox video of Gingrich. Banned! After that she left several comments inquiring about his poor children should work suggestions and they, too, were deleted.
She noted that many others were being banned as well and some of them had contacted her, so I had her forward me their screengrabs. Here’s an example from Nina:
Dear Speaker Gingrich,
I was wondering if it was just poor kids that should be janitors in their own schools, where our tax dollars pay for their education. Do you really think it’s sane, or have an ounce of compassion to say inner city kids could learn a skill and get paid to do something that is not illegal? Isn’t that just a little racists of you? Also to claim there is no Palestine, seriously? Also it seems that if someone posts on ANY of your pages with any comments other than pro-Newt, not only are their comments deleted, but they are also blocked. As a wanna be President, wouldn’t you re all the people, not just those who agree with you?
Nina attached a Fox clip showing that Obama was in the lead. She was not only deleted, but banned.
Once you’re banned, you can no longer post comments or like anything on the page, so it’s obvious that they were banned.
A conversation is: “a (1) : oral exchange of sentiments, observations, opinions, or ideas (2) : an instance of such exchange : talk; a quiet conversation b : an informal discussion of an issue by representatives of governments, institutions, or groups c : an exchange similar to conversation”. Yes, exchange of ideas is inherent in the notion of a conversation. So Newt isn’t really inviting conversation, he’s inviting worship.
Why does Newt’s page invite people in for a national conversation if he is really only going to tolerate obedience and worship? Sure, managing a popular Facebook page can be difficult, and some auto moderation programs delete comments in order for them to be moderated.
But it doesn’t appear that Gingrich’s page is being run by an auto-mod program, since those who agree with Newt and show due deference and worship are not deleted for moderation. Comments saying, “This is who to vote for!” and “We agree with you!” and “You’re a real eye opener! It’s always hard we know it. You’ve got our support in Israel!” were left up after Nina’s comments were not only deleted but she was banned.
And other comments left up on his NH page, “Mr President, the people need to hear how you would breakdown the pretender at the whitehouse. With that as your strategy, more and more people would support you. Play deaf to the criticisms from bachmann and romney, they are sore losers and their feeling the nomination is getting to be farther and farther from their dreams.”
So, calling this President a “pretender” is left up (waves to birthers!), but questioning Gingrich’s policies regarding poor children is not.
The Posting Guidelines on Newt’s contract with America page read in part:
While this is an open forum, please keep your comments and posts respectful and in line with the posting guidelines. Posts will be removed if they violate the guidelines, and in some cases the poster will be banned.
The reasons for banning people are typical – no abuse, no overt racism, no documents shared. None of these posters broke any of the guidelines listed. They claim it’s an “open forum” and yet it doesn’t appear to be open to everyone.
Checking through the comments, I see other posters have left Youtube links and embeds and haven’t been deleted, let alone banned. I also noticed that way back in October, Newt was allowing some dissent on his page, but it seems to have been cleaned up recently.
This comment was left up, “Will you please do America a favor and stop your bid for presidency? The last thing we need is a tea bagging nut case like you in office.” While this might appear to be dissent, it is actually the kind of endorsement Newt desperately needs right now as proof that he is a Tea Partier. The tactic here (as seen in Cain, Palin, Bachmann) is using “look how much the left hates me!” as Tea Party cred.
An empty, mean-spirited attack is left up to rally the troops, while they delete the actual policy questions that might cause doubt or engender discussion. And this is their “intellectual”?
Surfing through the comments, I am amazed at the number of birther comments left up, “Go Newt. Hope that next November you send Obama back to kenya, indonesia, illinois, Hawaii or wherever he surfaced from. As long as he is no longer a resident of 1600 Penn.” I guess Newt’s people are pretending they don’t get the very special southern connection between birthism and racism, even as Newt’s home state tries to get Obama thrown off the ballot. Newt is, after all, the “Kenyan, anti-colonial” carnival barker, leading the insinuations to their full fruition of frothing paranoiacs.
Newt’s Facebook policing policy is important in that it clearly demonstrates the way Republicans view the public. We’ve seen Republicans hiding from the mainstream media ever since Sarah Palin made it work in 2008. Since then they’ve started avoiding having Townhalls or charged for invite-only Townhalls. They don’t respond when organized groups call their office to set up an appointment to vocalize their concerns. The people can’t be heard.
It’s one thing to ban people who are swearing or being racist or attacking other commenters, but for a politician to completely ban someone for calling him out on two of his own widely publicized positions borders on the absurd. To call such a fan page a “national conversation” and a “Contract WITH America” is inaccurate (this seems more like a contract ON American than with).
Is Newt Gingrich really running for the Republican presidential nomination, or is he running for Republican celebrity of the year, because he’s running his Facebook page like a Hollywood starlet; fans only please!
Sadly, the worst thing about spending hours in Newt Gingrich’s Facebook world is coming across comments like this over and over and over again, “All Newt haters need to just move on. Nothing any of you say will change our mind you’re just wasting your time. We have all watched and listened (trust me we don’t want another nut in the whitehouse) and we like what Newt stands for. Get behind your canidate and focus your energy on he/she.”
Yes focus on he or she, you nuts! Also, demand the birth certificate, because nothing says serious conversation about policy like birthers going rogue to knock the pretender out of the White House.
And they say Newt is the “intelligent” one. If he’s so smart, why does he have to rely on transparent crutches like birtherism and censorship? Why is he afraid to have a real debate of ideas?