I am very proud of our founder, Josh White. He has consistently shown maturity and courage in the face of pretty awful things said about and to him. He stood up for something that took courage, and continues to take courage to keep going on. Which is why when I see others attempting to steal the credit he deserves, I become agitated. Josh spoke up during the time when it could have the most impact, and as a result, took most of the resulting blowback. You can see for yourself on the comments on his first article or his follow up article. Both of these articles were published hours after the original statements. Other organizations waited up to an entire week to respond. By then, any emotional or rhetorical impact was already done. It remains a poignant example of the failure of organizations to remain nimble and be able to respond to actions with action.
But as much as I’d like to beat up on HUAR some more, I don’t actually think they’re worth it. However, today on The Wild Hunt, full credit was attempted to be given to HUAR for their* “immediate” and “strong” response. They have since dropped the immediate adjective, but have yet to call attention to their correction, nor do they offer credit where it is actually due. When called out on their behavior, they originally removed the following comment:
Here is the text of the comment:
I’m a little dismayed that HUAR is once again capitalizing on a lazy media reliant on press releases to bolster its meager and pathetic credibility. The “immediate” and “strong response” to McNallen’s words occured over a week after McNallen made his original comments and Days after the actual response prompted him to issue the middle fingered raspberry on January 11? Perhaps it would be an essay posted before January 18th? I would hope that such a suspicious timeline would prompt a journalist with good instincts to look at the responses posted between McNallen’s original remarks and his non apology, and that might lead them to A Brief fresponse Josh White of Heathen Talk wrote on… January 11: http://heathentalk.com/…/11/a-brief-response-to-ill-words/
I find this particularly galling not only because Josh didn’t deserve the abuse heaped upon him by AFA supporters, up to and including someone wishing & hoping for harm to befall Josh’s family, but also because Josh has consistently put forth the best, most mature criticism of McNallen’s statement. Meanwhile, after the initial furor quiets down, HUAR comes along and claims credit. Unearned, unworthed credit. Josh White put himself out there to call out someone he once respected, and suffered for it. Josh’s engagement, and his willingness to continue to engage with McNallen, polite but in opposition, shows Josh’s confidence and maturity, and that he is exactly the kind of figure Public Heathenry needs. Robbing him of the credit because of lazy press-release journalism is a travesty.
I want to say I’m disappointed in the Wild Hunt but again, how can one be disappointed when your expectations are fulfilled?
Within an hour of this comment being posted, it was removed. Subsequent comments asking for clarification have remained, as has my repost of the comment to their FaceBook Page. They claim that they welcome criticism, and that they rarely remove comments unless they contain direct attacks or defamatory language. I’ll leave the question if my comment meets those criteria to the reader. Requiring that fact checks go through an arbitrary “Contact Us” form rather than remaining topical and timely within the comments is simply another way to silence criticism and restrict feedback, and is directly in opposition to the kind of open exchange of ideas that is the core principle of any kind of Journalism worthy of the name. The proper method of conducting journalism is to conduct journalism. If you wish to be a news site, it is on you to confirm your news, and do the due diligence to make sure you get your facts straight. The Wild Hunt needs to be open to criticism, even strident criticism. That’s what being a public institution is about. By silencing their critics, they only show that they view their critics as right. Nothing in my criticism of the Wild Hunt was out of bounds for even a small news site. The fact that they have chosen to behave in the way they have should be shocking and disappointing. The fact that I am unsurprised at their behavior is perhaps the most damning criticism I can offer a site that continues to live down to expectations.
EDIT: Sometime overnight / today, the Wild Hunt has removed my comment from their facebook page as well.
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