The departure of Ron Chusid from The Democratic Daily to start his own blog was the culmination of several months of behind the posts disagreements about the tone and focus of different subjects and his comments. It seems leaving was not enough; he has progressed to openly use his blog to make false accusations and spread misinformation about the Democratic Daily and Pamela.
This is not the kind of discussion The Democratic Daily is interested in or that I want to bring up. Ron has left me no choice. Since Posting his direct attack on The Dem Daily at Liberal Values Monday evening, both Pamela and I emailed him to take it down. He has left it up and his comments since have included more outright lies. He informed me once that just because something had been up briefly in the wee hours did not mean it would completely disappear from caches on the Internet. He has no excuse to think that his comments about Pamela and the Dem Daily are not cached somewhere, let alone having been left up far longer than the website of the senate staffer Pamela caught lying to us.
Libel is not a Liberal Value.
We have taken to using ‘swift boating’ due to the GOP tactic. In the larger, less colloquial context, the correct term is libel.
First, the Gibson post was one of four separate subjects that Ron raised over several months where he adopted a position that no amount of discussion or debate would alter. He would only let others disagree and acknowledge their right to a different opinion because they were uninformed, not based on scientific facts or other wise belittled the person for having an opinion other than his. Unfortunately, this is common in the blogosphere and there is a great deal of tolerance of it on other blogs. Pamela had started this blog with the rules for commenting specifically restricting that kind of discussion.
Pamela’s directions to Ron on the tone and focus of all four subjects were the perrogative of the Owner/Administrator to maintain the blog content in accordance with her goals and values. Editors and program directors do this every day in the real world of journalism. When Ron refused to comply with those directions, they were changed to directives.
Note: This post is regarding a situation that those of us who write for the Democratic Daily have left alone until the public post at Liberal Values. It is the first time anyone has published anything like it on the DD and I waited over 20 hours to post it – with a mountain of regret. Do we just let this kind of thing go and not refute it? The problem also has to do with behavior that is escalating, not just recurring. Ron’s post is linked to other sites in the blogosphere where other liberal – or conservative – bloggers can find it.
Anyone who is not involved in this or does not wish to know any more about the dispute is encouraged to continue to the next post. This one will be removed as soon as I am notified that the Liberal Values post has been taken down.
Ron plays it differently at LV.
“I have not blocked any responses from Pamela on this post. If she is claiming this it is just another of her many lies.”
This is a classic example of Ron’s distortion. Pamela had noted in an email that when she has commented on Liberal Values on the other posts that attacked her, they were left ‘awaiting moderation’ and never posted. She printed the screens, it is not a lie. So Ron carefully states on THIS POST he has not blocked her responses. And refers to another of her ‘many’ lies. As of this writing, Pamela has just informed me there are now three of her comments in moderation on this specific post.
“Pamela showed toleration of anti-Semitism when she repeatedly attacked me for criticizing Gibson and tried to keep me from posting about this on the blog, with her ultimately shutting down my discussion and followed this by spreading lies about me.”
That discussion was not limited to (extensively)condemning anti-Semitism and certainly did not trivialize Holocaust denial. It was about trying to understand how the complex human soul can do evil things and how to promote learning and healing rather than simply condemning with equal hatred. It had some components of forgiveness – based not only on the words Gibson had spoken but also the actions that needed to follow.
Pamela first asked Ron to stop the discussion and the posts. Pamela and I had discussed the whole situation in daily phone conversations. Her actions were consistent with the conlusions she came to during our calls. The decisions to turn the directions into directives were almost entirely due to private emails from regulars on the blog.
Ron states in his comments on the LV post: “The goal is not to change his opinions but to marginalize his ideas to reduce their impact on society.” That was the basis of the original discussion; some of us marginalized them because he was drunk, he was raised in a household where he obviously heard these comments from a young age and he had made some very appropriate outreaches to indicate he wanted to use the experience to learn from it. The essence of Pamela’s directions after the discussion had gone on for days was “You’ve made your point, Move On.”
Her specific concern was that the incident, post and discussion had occurred arround the time of Kerry’s major speech on Health Care. Attention to that was being diverted to Mel’s stupid, drunk comment.
Ultimately, Ron chose to move to his own blog. It was the right thing to do since he could then set the tone and comment on whatever he wanted. He continued to write at the Dem Daily by invitation from Pamela, with some of his priviledges (editing other posts or comments) reduced – but not all. Yet he continued to attack Pamela by inference at Liberal Values – until this direct assault.
One interchange in the discussion at Liberal Values is a prime example of Ron’s tactics.
[#16 Excellent comment by Todd Mitchell] As to the charge itself re: Pamela, your allegations are absurd. Having re-read the thread, there is nothing in there suggesting she “tolerates anti-semitism”, when in fact she decries Gibson’s behavior over and over. Your bogus use of FBI crime stats to rehash the issue is also desultory and juvenile.
[Ron’s entire non response to Todd] I have not blocked any responses from Pamela on this post. If she is claiming this it is just another of her many lies.
If there was any confusion, I have made it clear that this applies specifically to Pamela. The Democratic Daily is Pamela’s blog –as you will find if you ever try to post on anything she disappoves of.
You reread one thread picked and edited by Pamela. That is just one small part of it all. Her addition of notes decrying Gibson after the fact does not change what she did, or excuse her initial defense of Gibson and attacks on me for condemning him.
I was involved in that discussion. Pamela did not add notes after the fact, she did put a final comment in before closing the thread.
Pamela allowed Ron to put up many posts with pictures of scantily clad, sexually provocative actresses, and some with bizarre sexual subjects -that he openly admitted were intended to attract traffic (aka: blogwhoring). It certainly got plenty of porno spam for Pamela and the moderators to remove. This was not the tone of the Dem Daily and Ron knew it.
In his post and comments Ron has NOT:
Given specific support for the allegations that Pamela has spread lies about him.
Given any substantiation of Pamela’s ‘many’ lies.
Given any substantion of censorship or having his posts or comments edited
I have to restate Todd’s point that Ron IS attacking the rest of us who made some of those comments- even if only under the broad banner of attacking the Dem Daily and Pamela as the owner/moderator. I grew up with parents actively fighting for civil rights. I have a memory of an experience at the age of 4: answering the question “Why do people discriminate against other people?” very correctly, in my own mind . Predjudice might as well be a sin in the Unitarian Church. My 9th grade Sunday School teacher was a university professor. We read Black Like Me, To Kill A Mockingbird, Cry the Beloved Country and The Nature of Prejudice and discussed them over the full year.
Growing up Unitarian in a Trinitarian society, not to mention an atheist, religious discrimination is something I have personally lived with as long as I can remember. I also have never to be forgotten memories of the half dozen patients with number tattoes on their forearms. My sister here in CO married into a Jewish family that we have loved and enjoyed for 21 years. The past 16 years of my life have been focused on GLBT discrimination. I sat through a company party in the early ’90s listening to a comedian do gay jokes that eventually made the group uncomfortable but were tolerated. (I had a discussion with my boss about it). My daughter has always been 99.9% tomboy. From KINDERGARTEN she has been questioned and teased about her sexual orientation. She happens to be straight. Some of her classmates refused to believe it because she advocated for gay rights.
Ron’s post is not simply libel, it is unwarranted by any stretch of the actual facts and is a prime example of what The Dem Daily has always strived to avoid. Not attacking other people who are in the tent with disrespectful and belittling accusations, labels or arguments. As a nurse, I am all too familiar with this tendency of physicians. Somewhere there is a scientific study that finally woke up hospital administrators to the single biggest factor in the nursing shortage. Since that came out, the offending doctors are getting called into Admin offices and told to change or leave. I am very committed to not stereotyping people automatically. Once they prove the shoe fits – it’s theirs.
The post could have been written differently. What is the point of attacking someone who has worked so hard, with every effort to build community and join together to further our message and effectiveness? Anger? Jealousy? Hatred? Why do you backstab someone you worked with for years, with immense freedom for not being a co-owner, and her sustained cooperation even after repeated differences of opinion on content and tone? I have spent far more time than I had today to defend someone who I have come to know very well and respect immensely because she was willing to form and maintain a relationship. There is no way to describe the number of ways and times Pamela has made a comment in one subject or another that exactly reflects my convictions or expands on them. Nor do I see her acting differently than her stated beliefs.
If you want to continue to support Ron’s site, fine. I absolutly respect and appreciate much of his writing. The work he did last summer to compile all the refutations on the SBVT attacks was huge. It makes it that much harder to conclude he has earned a boycott.
Finally, I have spent hours out of this day on this I needed for other high priority to-do items. I am scheduled to work (12 hr shifts or 14 hours away from the house/computer) tomorrow and Thursday so I doubt I will even check the responses until Weds eve. I sincerely apologise for this but I simply cannot put any more time on it for the next 30 hours at least.