Internet Comment Sections Vs. A&E: The Opposite Ends Of The Censorship Spectrum

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Nice Move

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“Intern, you cock gobbling thunder cunt, stop being one of the poors and buy yourself a god damn watch so you can post on time. Fuck every generation of your ancestors, I hope every living member of your family is sterile so we can rid of the world of your gene pool.” – Army of Fratness

The above is an actual comment posted on this very website. That Army of Fratness is one offensive son of a bitch, but he’s our offensive son of a bitch. You know what else? He was right. The Intern really is a cock-gobbling thunder cunt, and riddance of his tainted gene pool would benefit society. The interesting thing about this comment is that our derogatory word filter didn’t catch it. Didn’t flag it. Didn’t notify our administrators that a comment was pending, awaiting moderation. And worst yet, as I read over it, Army of Fratness amazingly didn’t even violate our acceptable comment restrictions. Not in any way. Actually, he passed with flying colors. What a gentleman.

Our filter is set up to catch and block comments that are racist or anti-homosexual in nature. Other than that, mostly anything else flies. We see your constant complaints, but the truth is we are very lenient with censorship.

Phil Robertson of A&E’s popular reality show Duck Dynasty recently made comments that were “flagged” by network executives. In an interview with GQ’s Drew Magary, Robertson expressed his disdain for the homosexual lifestyle.

“It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”

And when asked to expand about his definition of sin, Robertson said the following:

“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,” he says. Then he paraphrases Corinthians: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”

The network responded by suspending Robertson.

I’ve seen the nation react. I’ve seen those siding with A&E — those in support of tolerance, acceptance and censorship. And I’ve seen those in Robertson’s corner — they support freedom of religion and speech. Those in the latter group cite these liberties granted to us as citizens of the United States, and they believe A&E is somehow being unfair, acting un-American.

This group isn’t seeing the real picture, however. I saw a couple comments on Twitter saying, “This is what’s wrong with America.” You’re wrong. This isn’t about our American liberties being stripped from us. You see, Robertson can say whatever he wants on the streets, in his home, from atop a building, all without any real repercussions had he only been representing himself. The problem is he’s a television star, and this interview was in a national publication, and because of who he is, and how loud his voice is, he represents much more than himself. He represents a brand.

It’s why sports figures get dropped by sponsors if they get caught with cocaine, are arrested for spousal abuse, or are serial adulterers.

This is about A&E, a television network, and their desire, no, their absolute necessity, to uphold a certain standard for their viewers and for their advertisers. Not taking action against Robertson’s comments — admittedly, they were not terrible — is, in a way, endorsing them. They can’t do that. It’s why TFM doesn’t allow its commenters to post racism, gore, or nudity. It’s not that we hate America — we love America, actually — it’s because we simply cannot harbor a free-for-all, no-holds-barred culture.

It’s just bad biz.

Having said all that, we like to take pride in allowing a lot of questionable, gray-area material slide on TFM. Just for fun, because I despise the serious tone of this column thus far, let’s compare some content that would not slide on A&E, but TFM has allowed.

Let’s take actual comments from TFM (ones that have already been given the green light as acceptable material), apply them to what I think A&E’s policy is, and play Allowed or Not Allowed.

Note: all the below comments were posted to TFM with the last three hours alone.

“Would gladly P in her B.”

A&E Verdict: Not Allowed

“Making eye contact with a horrified Roger Dorn while banging his mom and viciously fisting a freshly-torn hole in his childhood teddy bear. TFM”

A&E Verdict: Not Allowed

“wait, you can die from butt chugging?”

A&E Verdict: Not Allowed

“Knuckle-thrusting Roger Dorn’s mom wearing a teddy while he watches. TFM”

A&E Verdict: Not Allowed

“Good ‘Ol Choke and Stroke. Classic.”

A&E Verdict: Not Allowed

“Finger-blasting Roger Dorn’s teddy bear while he watches. TFM”

A&E Verdict: Not Allowed

“Not a huge fan of the hair and dress combo but I’d still let her sit on my face.”

A&E Verdict: Not Allowed

Lastly, I just stumbled upon the following comment from TFM user Colonel_Tolivar. I think he sums this whole mess up perfectly.

“I support his right to say what he wants. I also support A&E’s right to employ who they want.”



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