Monday, June 26, 2006

Free Speech For Me, But Not For Thee

"Goebbels was in favor of free speech for views he liked. So was Stalin. If you're in favor of free speech, then you're in favor of freedom of speech precisely for views you despise. Otherwise, you're not in favor of free speech." --Noam Chomsky, posted by Delaware Watch's Dana Garrett here.

Dana Garrett of Delaware Watch has a real problem. He just doesn’t play by the rules he expects everyone else to. He’s a model hypocrite.

Be sure to read Garrett's post from August 30 of last year. He discusses the situation of DelDOT employees who began a website named, and laments the "chilling effect on anonymous political commentary." He writes:

In the USA employees, in both the private and public sectors, must resort to anonymous speech in order to keep their jobs, even if what they say is the truth. Of course, the reason why employees must resort to anonymous speech is because our nation and state government empower employers to act as censors under the rubric of “property rights.” It’s a way to exercise political and social control by making one’s well being, if not their survival, contingent on their silence. Therefore, employees must engage in anonymous speech.

Of course, this bit of hypocritical commentary didn't prevent Dana from threatening to reveal Hube's identity and place of employment for comments Hube made that he didn't like, nor did it prevent him from doing the same to DelaThought when DT caught Garrett posting quite dubious information about folks related to the state Republican power structure and insisted on having his points addressed.

Likewise, in this entry, Dana was quite vociferous in his support of former Dover Post reporter Matt Donegan. He wrote:

It is hardly shocking to read that Matt Donegan was fired by his employer for his personal blog entries. Yes, Donnegan [sic] was a reporter and, yes, his employer was the Dover Post. But newspapers today like Congress in 1798 have the same desire to control others and the same sense of "free speech." Freedom of speech should exist for them and those whose speech pleases them but not for those who speech might embarrass them.

But it’s more amazing that some people in the USA actually believe people can credibly maintain a right even though they can lose their livelihood for exercising it.

There was also a bit from an old Al Mascitti column from this post:

Several Delaware bloggers worried that Donegan's firing would have a chilling effect on others who post their thoughts online. Dana Garrett, who writes a blog called Delaware Watch, said people worried about losing their jobs will start censoring themselves…

Amazing! Garrett feels so strongly about protecting people's right to free speech -- arguably a virtual absolutist stance -- yet he has utilized threats, not once, but TWICE of this exact nature. He threatened to reveal the identity and the place of employment of two anonymous bloggers with whom he disagreed! Can the hypocrisy get any more viscous? (Yes, that’s “viscous,” not “vicious,” but it's that, too.)

Then, there's this post. Garrett begins this offering with an unintentional rib-tickler: "My critics won’t believe me when I say that I don’t take any pleasure in being correct." He then writes regarding Cindy Sheehan:

I don’t want to live in a nation in which our right to free speech can be usurped by the whims of the powerful or by their “longstanding rules” to protect themselves from merely reading on someone’s chest a message of dissent.

That’s what makes a Beverly Young’s, a Cindy Sheehan’s, a Frank Calio’s, and a Matt Donegan’s freedom so threatening. To defend someone’s freedom of speech, however odious, is to defend freedom of thought per se, especially the freedom of thought deemed “unacceptable” by the authorities, and that is scary for those who fear the responsibility of thinking for themselves.

Once again, what should be good enough for everyone is good enough for Dana Garrett -- sometimes. He gets to pick and choose when free speech (and anonymous punditry) should be protected and defended. The instances are easy to figure out, too: Dana favors free speech all the time, except when he decides that what someone says about him is "unfair" and that person continues his criticisms of Garrett over Dana's objections.

By the way, Dana discusses Frank Calio noted above in more depth here. This post just adds more fuel to the fire that is Garrett's ridiculous sanctimony. Here are this post's money quotes:

The notion that silence is preferable to speech has become such an entrenched value that we now look suspiciously on those who speak often and loudly about political matters and trust those who are silent.

Those who are silent about their views can in fact hurt the public trust in ways no one can expect. But those who voice their views often actually provide us with an important public service: they tell us precisely where their political interests lie and, thereby, make any malfeasance they might commit more detectable. It is precisely for that reason that I trust those who exercise their 1st amendment rights more than those who don’t.

What hilarity! The truth of the matter is that Garrett only trusts people who believe as he does and/or who follow the dictates of debate that he proscribes. Garrett did not trust DelaThought's speech over silence; that's why he was electronically bullied off the Delaware blogosphere. Somehow, one less voice in the DE blogosphere sure doesn't "hurt the public trust" in this case now, does it?

Garrett has also opined numerous times about “censorship.” He has repeatedly and fervently spoken out against it, such as in posts like this where he writes about WILM radio’s John Watson:

Watson's final response to the caller? He hung up on him: the ultimate censorship. But for those who listen to Watson's program, none of his censorious tirades are surprising. They occur often when someone exposes Watson liberties with facts or when they have apparently exposed that Watson has done little research on the topic he is discussing.

Sounds eerily familiar. Here’s another example. And here Garrett criticizes Paul Smith Jr. for removing Delaware Watch from his blogroll using the “censorship” term. (Interestingly, in yet another bit of hypocritical action, Garrett has recently removed a few DE blogs from his blogroll including Jokers to the Right, Into Good and Evil, and Colossus. Well, at least he kept his word to Paul Smith Jr., eh?) In the former linked example, Garrett lambastes Colossus of Rhodey for having [temporarily] banned Delaware Liberal’s Jason for “turn[ing] every little thing into an overly partisan matter ... and all a hate-Bush rant. It's silly, tiresome, and childish. You just piss everyone off w/that crap.” Garrett comments:

Imagine, actually banning someone ON THE BLOGOSPHERE because they are "partisan." Oh, my! Just imagine -- partisan comments on a political blog! How dare Jason engage in partisan speech!

The problem with these comments is threefold: 1) The writers at Colossus have never claimed virtual 1st Amendment absolutism as Garrett had (and has); 2) Jason was warned several times about his behavior, and there is a written notice at the top of each and every Colossus comment window explaining comment rules; and 3) Colossus never threatened to “out” Jason – or any other anonymous blogger for breach of blog etiquette -- UNLIKE DANA GARRETT HAS DONE WITH DELATHOUGHT.

That’s right. Most recently, Garrett attempted to ban DelaThought from commenting on Delaware Watch, for HIS political speech. DelaThought knew that by posting from a dial-up service, blog comment bans are usually ineffectual. He thus continued to post comments on Dana’s blog asking for replies to his points, whether related to Delaware Watch comments or points made on DelaThought itself. Garrett, seeing a conspiracy in everything, refused to realize that DT was merely using ONE internet service (AOL) from which to post his comments. At first, Garrett censored DT’s comments by manually changing hyperlinks DT made regarding relevant points he had made (see here and here.) Then, realizing that his “ban” was not functioning to his satisfaction, Garrett resorted to threatening to reveal DelaThought’s personal information, which would destroy his anonymity. You see, DT’s speech suddenly ceased being “political"; using Noam Chomsky-like linguistic gymnastics, Garrett labeled DT’s comments “harassment,” and called DT a “troll.” This supposedly is his “justification” for his threats. Amazingly, Garrett refused to take a course of action most normal bloggers utilize when faced with a similar situation: They simply ignore the comments/commenter, and/or delete the comments made by the person. The latter is still “censorship” in Garrett’s world; however, it is certainly preferable to potentially ruining one’s livelihood by “outing” personal information.

And, not only doesn’t Dana doubt his course of action (threatening DelaThought), he gloats about it!

We invite you to read all of these other "free speech"-related posts by Dana Garrett to see what a 1st Amendment charlatan he really is:

Post #1.
Post #2.
Post #3.

And the following links show where Garrett has made his thinly-veiled threats to reveal other bloggers' personal information:

Example #1.
Example #2.
Example #3.
Example #4.
Example #5.

Lastly, in yet a further example of his hypocrisy, Dana has posted the following quotes:

“The principle of free thought is not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought we hate." -- US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes.

“The price of freedom of religion, or of speech, or of the press, is that we must put up with a good deal of rubbish." --Robert Jackson.

(Also see the Noam Chomsky quote from this same Garrett post at the beginning of this article.)

Garrett should follow his own advice, since he has worked to silence those who have disagreed with him. Apparently Garrett doesn't feel he has to put up with what he deems to be "rubbish". According to Noam Chomsky, whom he often favorably quotes, Garrett is not in favor of free speech. (Or in the words of Nat Hentoff, perhaps he believes in "Free speech for me, but not for thee.") And note the title of that post: "The Flimsy Excuses of Tyrants." What "flimsy excuses" will this tyrant give us for his actions?


Blogger Dana Garrett said...

Is that it, guys? I want to make sure that you get all your arguments in before I dismiss all this illogic in, maybe, two paragraphs.

Let me know when you are ready for my reply on my blog. I want you to take your best shot before I take you on.

6:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Translation: Oh, s#*t! I need some time to come up with a retort, even though there's really no comeback to this!

6:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lordsakes, guys, this Delaware Watch guy has generated more time and posting space than anything you all have ever come up with. Which goes to show you why we (real) conservatives are given a bad name by pseudo-conservatives who are really just hate-filled, shallow, petty little anti-liberals of sorts. When you guys can stop attacking people and give as much time to promoting ideas, policy, or substance as you do to these silly exercises in dicing up your opponent, you may someday be worth reading.

I had high hopes for this forum but it is nothing but bash, bash, bash, gloat, gloat, gloat, alienate, alienate, alienate. How about you think for once what you might be able to say if you didn't have enemies to constantly occupy your obviously obsessive and small minds?

I do not agree with Delaware Watch a WHOLE lot of the time but damn sure the guy puts out more substance than the whole lot of you. I am just sad he actually deigned to respond to your tripe. guys are so pathetic. I feel like I am in the grade school Republicans club all over again. "Hey look guys, a liberal!! Nyah, nyah, nyah--nyah, nyah, nyah!!! Get him!!!!

For godsakes grow up. Get with a program of any kind that is not some pathetic little attack circle already. PLEASE??? You really make us look bad. You are really turning 'conservative' into what 'liberal' was 20 years ago - a term of derision. STOP!!!!!!!!

7:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look, a red herring! Does anyone else see anything liberal or conservative in the above post?

Way I read it, this guy basically eliminated a member of the DCBA in a less than ethical manner, and has developed a pattern of attacking personally when he is challenged, and that's fair game.

"You really make us look bad."

Who? Dana Garrett's only friend who comes onto DE 2006 and pretends to be a conservative to distract readers from the topic at hand?

7:57 PM  
Anonymous Andy said...

This certainly does appear to be unethical behavior, but it would help to be provided links of the comments that led to this action for the sake of balance/completeness.

10:57 PM  
Anonymous dr. know said...

People: Read this post, complete with 21 links to support the argument.

Then go to Delaware Watch and read the flimsy response, with no supporting documentation to the claims.

You decide who is on the side of the angels here.

6:14 AM  
Anonymous NosyNeighbor said...

I have been reading all the Delaware blogs for the past few months now. Though there are frequent disagreements, it only becomes this volatile when it involves Dana. Even the disagreements between Hube and Jason (through very heated at times) never got this far.

Dana is a hypocrit. And he frequently calls people liars and trolls merely for disagreeing with him. He is the one who slanders others. Read his blog -- it's all right there in black and white. No one has to make these things up.

I also find it interesting that his was the first comment on this post. It's almost like he was waiting in the shadows. He's so predictable.

9:12 AM  
Anonymous steamboat willy said...

it's a vast right wing conspiracy!

12:30 PM  
Blogger Anna Venger said...

2nd anonymous poster--
Our beef here has nothing to do with liberals v. conservatives. It has to do with meanspiritedness and hypocrisy and the violation of the principle of free speech which (most) bloggers cherish.

What kind of person threatens to out another blogger? That's just nasty. Delathought had even commented before that if his identity were known he would have to stop blogging. DCBA didn't even know his identity. But that didn't stop the threats from coming or the eventual outing which stifled a Delaware voice.

For me, the anonymity isn't such a big deal. It's more to appease family and friends who prevailed upon me to be anonymous. But others are anonymous to protect their livelihoods, for example.

We believe anonymity should be respected. There are lots of disagreements in the DE blogosphere, but we've at least been able to maintain some level of respect for one another. Outing an opponent is just too low, and that was a sad, sad day for the Delaware blogosphere, in my opinion. I wouldn't do that to ANYone.

3:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't see why this is any surprise to you folks. This is a man who has a passion for two countries - Chavez's Venezuela and Castro's Cuba - with no freedom of the press. Those dictators control what is said about them in their domain, too. It's only natural that their follower here in America would behave the same way. The only difference is that Fidel and Hugo don't pretend to be supporters of free speech.

4:51 PM  
Anonymous Uncle Vanya said...

"That's a harsh indictment; damning testimony I might add." (my sincere apologies to MH)

Fie on Mr. Garrett.

5:18 PM  
Anonymous steamboat willy said...

dana often claims powerful un-named people are trying to silence him by threatening his job and claims to keep massive files to protect himself... but then dismisses out of hand the idea that a blogger would choose anonimity to protect his/her family. the logical disconect is stunning. i don't think he is well.

12:46 AM  
Anonymous steamboat willy said...

from Delaware Watch:

"It is possible that both of the gentlemen who resigned on Friday were given a push out of the door"

I suspect that is the choice I will be given next week. Take a couple weeks to find a new job, then resign or out you go.

Something is up.
Dana Garrett | Homepage | 06.20.06 | #

looks like the wheels may be coming off the cart for DG. It's a shame, he is a crazed and angry leftist, but I enjoyed his blogg for it's occasional interesting post on pending legislation.

12:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had my first headhunt in the curikudos job fair held in 2006. And now i think its time to switch over. Can some one let me know when the job fair starts again.

3:47 PM  

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