When I started Crux of the Matter in January of 2006, political blog wars were every day occurrences and, in my opinion, it was what made writing and reading blogs so much fun. Finally, average people had a place to go to vent and to read about stuff that the mainstream media didn’t write about.
For conservatives, it was truly empowering because, not only was it the first time we could read about what was going on in the federal and provincial conservative parties, we realized we were not alone in our views.
Think Ottawa, December 2008. There was the attempted government take over by the Liberals, NDP and Bloc — just a few weeks after an election campaign where they said repeatedly that they weren’t going to try to form a coalition government.
The blogosphere erupted. Liberals and NDP were in favour. Conservatives were outraged. Up to that point, the first past the post party won, whether it was a majority or a minority. Their leader became the PM.
In fact, to this day, the Liberal and NDP Parties have not been able to erase the image of the three opposition leaders shaking hands. Talk about arrogance! If ever actions speak louder than words meant anything, it was that handshake. It said loud and clear: “The voters have made a mistake!”
Now, think about it. Had that coup d’etat (and that is what it was no matter how technically legal it was) been before the Internet, they might have been successful because most of the mainstream media was in favour — anything to get rid of the Conservatives.
But all those millions of Canadians who were not in favour had a place to go to let it be known they were opposed. In fact, I can remember putting up a post with a template letter and the Governor General’s email address to let her know Canadians were not amused.
Normally, at that time, I had between 400 and 600 visitors a day. During that two-week period, it was between 2000 and 3000. And, I was only one conservative-oriented blog. Multiple that by all the Blogging Tories at that time.
So, when Prime Minister Harper visited the GG (Michaelle Jean) and she agreed to prorogue parliament, she knew how Canadian voters felt about three parties trying to undo an election result they didn’t like.
However, times have changed since then. Twitter and Facebook have taken away both bloggers and readers because you can get your point across in only 140 characters. Plus, over time, cold water has been thrown on blogs as a result of law suits related to libelous posts and comments.
Yet, I would have to say that last week’s results of the Warman versus Fournier case has dampened things even further. Here, for example, is Daniel Dickin’s post on that case, as well as Dr. Dawg’s — meaning all bloggers, no matter what their political affiliation, will now have to be extremely cautious as to what they and their commenters write and how quickly they remove offending comments (updated H/T Daniel Dickin).
The crux of the matter is, then, that from now on my comment feature will be on full moderation and, for approval to happen, commenters will have to be careful what they say, defend what they say using links to sources and, never ever, use ad hominem descriptions.
Bummer I know, but that’s the blogosphere’s new reality.