Ben updates to re-iterate that folks are not just voting no, but flagging things as inappropriate, which he thinks is an abuse of the system and stated as much in his original post. All well and good, and his point is noted, as in my original post I thought Ben was discussing not only questions that had been flagged, but those voted down. Ben deserves a correction for that, as I did think he was talking not only flagged but voted down comments. However, I still have several issues (insert joke here):
First, Ben did not merely make a suggestion for a change in process. Ben stated “So far, Obama’s team does not seem to have stepped in to allow uncomfortable questions to rise to the top, and instead is allowing his supporters to sanitize the site.”
That is not a simple suggestion for a process change, that is an assertion of perfidy on the part of team Obama. The insinuation is there for all to clearly infer- the Obama team is allowing the “sanitizing of the site” and dodging the “uncomfortable questions.”
Second, if your main concerns are the terrible economy, the war, the budget, and the hundred other pressing issues out there, then when faced with the question “Will you explain your true connection to all your corrupt buddies?”, the most blatant of the questions Ben originally caught as flagged, not only do you vote it down, but you would be perfectly warranted to flag it as inappropriate. Given the number of issues we face, it certainly is. Ben thinks I am misreading him, but I understand exactly what is happening- folks are flagging questions as inappropriate, even when many people voted for it. I understand that, and as Ben notes, this sort of system can be problematic. That does not, however, mean wrong-doing or some nefarious scheme on the part of team Obama. It means that some people are “misusing” a publicly available system. Especially since we know that certain individuals are intentionally flooding the site with questions that are, well, designed only to inflict damage to the incoming Obama administration. That is the sole intent, and if I were a registered user I would probably vote no and flag it, especially since the point of the website is the following:
“The Obama-Biden Transition wants to hear from you. Use our ‘Open for Questions’ tool to ask a question about a policy or issue that’s important to you.
Additionally, it is not like we are not going to see these questions aired elsewhere:
I’ve been watching cable news this afternon–I know, get a life!–and you know, Barack Obama comes from the same state as Rod Blagoyevich. That is really suspicious! What did he know and when did he know it? This is the first major scandal of the Obama Administration! He has to explain himself. You notice he hasn’t had any press conferences since this thing broke…oh, wait. He’s having a press conference tomorrow…And Patrick Fitzgerald said that Obama is no way involved in this? I’ll bet! That’s not what Sean Hannity thinks! It’s a coverup for sure. Will Obama be the first President to be impeached before he’s inaugurated?
CNN’s Jessica Yellin takes the cake, though:
YELLIN: Not “we,” but “I,” leaving open the possibility that one or more of his aides did have contact with the governor’s office. And according to the complaint, Blagojevich wanted to talk to at least one of Obama’s aides. The governor is quoted saying on November 13th that he’d like to call one of the president-elect’s advisors and ask him, “Can you guys help raise $10 million or $15 million?”
It’s not clear whether that call ever happened. And the prosecutor went out of his way to make it clear Obama is not in his crosshairs.
PATRICK FITZGERALD, U.S. ATTORNEY: The complaint makes no allegations about the president-elect whatsoever.
YELLIN: But there’s the perception issue. The man who promised to run the most candid White House in history is saying…
OBAMA: As this is an ongoing investigation involving the governor, I don’t think it will be appropriate for me to comment on the issue at this time.
YELLIN: Sound familiar?
SCOTT MCCLELLAN, FMR. WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: But our policy has been that this is an ongoing investigation. We’re not going to comment on it.
YELLIN: It begs many questions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How did the campaign talk to Governor Blagojevich? What did Senator Obama know about his friend and her chances? Why did she abruptly, Valerie Jarrett, take herself out of the running? There are a series of questions here that just haven’t been answered.
YELLIN: Now, Wolf, we had originally heard that Barack Obama might be making some sort of personnel announcements this week, and now we’re told that those aren’t happening until later, maybe even next week, which raises the question, do they not want to put Barack Obama in front of the press taking questions, questions like the ones raised in this piece? The larger issue here is, until Barack Obama addresses some of these questions, they will continue to dog him. Even though there’s absolutely no suggestion of wrongdoing, stonewalling never works well for a politician — Wolf.
Third, censorship has a specific meaning when applied to the government and government officials, and right now the transition team is a quasi-governmental organization. Additionally, Ben notes the following:
Indeed, a reader who says he wrote that question, as “lupercal,” emailed me:
“Let it be noted that 21 people liked it, but 7 people turned it down. Indeed, this is a technical glitch that is exploited by a very select few,” continuing that “the feature’s been announced less than half a day. So, it’s not as if there’s mischievous intent on the part of the Obama team.
In other words, the system has not even had time to work, yet somehow the Obama campaign is “censoring” questions.
Ben says he is not trying to accuse the Obama team of untoward behavior, and I take him at his word, but a full wingnut Voltron has been formed- look how folks on the other side of the political aisle are interpreting Ben’s piece. Captain Ed:
Ben Smith of Politico notes that the Obamaphiles have tubed comments relating to the scandal surrounding Rod Blagojevich, and that Team Obama seems happy to let them continue:
President-elect Barack Obama’s transition website Change.gov is censoring questions offered by readers about disgraced Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.
This is getting comical… Ben Smith reported that the new President-elect Barack Obama’s Transition website page “Open for Questions” is banning questions about Obama’s association with his good friend Rod Blagojevich:
Jammie Wearing Fool and Gateway Pundit are both reporting on that Cover-Up You Can Believe In. Ed Morrissey finds Team Obama busy deleting questions about the Blagojevich scandl from the transition Web site.
The Obama transparency hype is just that — hype. His “open for questions” website isn’t. At least not open to questions about Blago.
And on and on. All of that started from one statement: “So far, Obama’s team does not seem to have stepped in to allow uncomfortable questions to rise to the top, and instead is allowing his supporters to sanitize the site.” The headline didn’t hurt, either: “Blagojevich questions censored on Transition site.”
That is why I thought the piece was one of his shoddier efforts, when I honestly do think he has done a decent job writing a professional blog.
*** Update ***
Alright- now he isn’t even trying. Might as well just take out an ad in the Weekly Standard- “Need a right-wing narrative pushed- We are open for business.”
I have now taken matters into my own hands. Please go register for the site and vote on my question. Or mark it inappropriate and CENSOR ME: