Neoconservative newspaper columnist Anne Applebaum is angry and upset. In the days when print was king, she could dash off her pro-war opinions and never have to worry about the common people taking apart her arguments. In those days only a very few would be dedicated enough to write a letter to the editor, and only a tiny fraction would be printed. All of them would be subject to approval by the newspaper editor, of course.
These days, online publications such as Applebaum's main venue, the Washington Post, are expected to allow their readers to comment directly below the articles. Applebaum has a problem with this, as she wrote this past week in the Washington Post. These days when she engages in her signature Russia-bashing, the wife of recently-disgraced former Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski must face the criticism of her readers.
Thus, when she writes of "The Myth of Russia Humiliation," her readers take her to task. When she writes, in "War in Europe is not a hysterical idea," that Ukrainians and Europeans should "drop everything, mobilize, prepare for total war [with Russia] while still possible," readers overwhelmingly push back against her war propaganda. They write things like:
You and you family should go back to Poland where you belong.
Go fight the good fight and stop egging on America into a disastrous war for which it has no business.
Anne, I am sorry but you are dillusional, nuclear strikes?! Genocide, i do not think anyone in their sane mind would even think of it.. For now the only cleansing has been conducted by the Ukrainians.. 860 thousand fled to Russia that telsl you something.. Stop writing bad analysis and aggrevating the problemand
The only raving lunatic is Anne Applebaum.As Counterpunch's Mike Whitney has recently written, the Western mainstream media's constant demonization of Russia and Vladimir Putin has fallen flat among readers, who increasingly challenge the editorial lines of these media outlets.
A preemptive nuclear strike against Warsaw for Russia to flex it's muscles? Please. The only way this scenario would be remotely possible is if we directly intervened, which is the course of action that the sociopath Anne Applebaum wants us to pursue in the first place.
This greatly grieves Applebaum, whose latest column demands that negative comments be more heavily edited on the Internet.
Once upon a time, it seemed as if the Internet would be a place of civilized and open debate; now, unedited forums often deteriorate to insult exchanges.Applebaum is particularly concerned that negative comments about her work are leading others to develop a negative opinion of her frequent calls for war with Russia:
Multiple experiments have shown that perceptions of an article, its writer or its subject can be profoundly shaped by anonymous online commentary, especially if it is harsh.She is worried that negative comments under her pro-war articles may give the impression that her views are "controversial":
Online commentary subtly shapes what voters think and feel, even if it just raises the level of irritation, or gives readers the impression that certain views are 'controversial...'To Applebaum, there is nothing controversial about calling for a nuclear war with Russia. Readers dare not think otherwise!
Her solution to the "problem" is to silence negative views, which she claims are all made by heavily-paid and well-organized Russian trolls.
Anne Applebaum urges speech restrictions by demanding that any commenter use his or her real name. "Too many people now abuse the privilege" of anonymity, she writes. "Sooner or later, we may also be forced to end Internet anonymity or to at least ensure that every online persona is linked back to a real person."
Interestingly, Applebaum demands transparency for everyone else while rejecting it for herself. A recent mandatory income declaration of her husband to the Polish government shows that her income has skyrocketed from $20,000 in 2011 to more than $800,000 in 2013. No explanation was given for this massive influx of cash, though several ventures in which she has a part are tied to CIA and National Endowment for Democracy-affiliated organizations. Could Applebaum be one of those well-paid propagandists about whom she complains so violently?
By the way, ever the apparatchik, Anne Applebaum blocks anyone from following her on Twitter who is critical of her work.
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