Over the last five years I’ve written at least 20 emails/letters to various Leftist and Left-Liberal institutions and organisations and received zero replies. I’m talking specifically about such institutions as the BBC, the Guardian (as well as specific Guardian journalists), university thinks tanks (“investigating the rise of the far right”, “Islamophobia”, etc.) and “rights groups”. My comments have been specific and are usually aimed at the fundamental beliefs and policies of these institutions and groups. However, every email has been well-tempered, well-argued, argumentative and has included research and data. Regardless of the extremity of my views, you’d have thought that they deserved at least some kind of reply. Neither did I swear or “incite violence”. (I suppose you can still be an “extremist” without doing any of these things.)
So I finally reached a broad conclusion about all this. Specifically, I reached a conclusion after frequently noting just how many comments were censored by the Guardian in the comments sections after each article or news piece. Very many! I suppose you can praise the Guardian for not going one step further than that by also censoring, or removing, the fact that many comments have been openly censored. That is, the Guardian allows it to be seen, by the reader, that certain comments have indeed been censored. So, again, they could indeed completely hide their excessive censoring as well. However, my praise is not total. The older the article is, the more of its “this comment was removed by a moderator” insertions will have been removed. In some of the even older articles, there are seemingly no removed comments. That’s because the “this comment was removed by a moderator” insertions have been removed too; as well as the censored comments themselves.
I noticed another thing about what the Guardian didn’t censor. They tended not to censor the more extreme, crude and unsophisticated comments from those on the right or on the “far right”. Even the ones with swear words and with comments like “send all foreigners back home”. This led me to conclude that they didn’t have a No Platform Policy when it came to “far right” views and comments. They had a No Platform Policy when it came to well-argued and temperate right wing or “far right” views. This makes sense. After all, the politically unsophisticated comments effectively dig their own graves; especially as far as Guardian readers are concerned. It also takes less work and time to demolish their arguments. Well-argued and well-written comments, on the other hand, would require more work and time and they also possibly have adverse effects on the average Leftist Guardian reader – at least in theory. Thus I concluded that the Guardian often censors the well-written and well-argued comments (expressing politically unpalatable views); but not the badly-written and badly-argued ones (expressing politically unpalatable views). They must do this because they didn’t like what is said – not because it is crude, “incites violence” or whatnot. (Incidentally, the Guardian has censored, or "removed", the majority of my own comments on various articles.)
Then I also concluded that the same type of thing may be happening to my emails to the BBC, “rights groups”, etc. (Although, in these cases, I couldn’t see the amount of censored material, or any badly-written emails/comments.)
Now my conclusion may well be conspiratorial. We all think that there’s a conspiracy against our own very special and likely-to-be-censored views, I suppose. So let’s take the conspiracy theory away from the facts. As I said, I have written at the least 20 emails to these institutions and groups without a single reply (three to the BBC alone in the last few months – and they promise a reply). In fact, I have probably written well over that amount but it’s hard to keep the number in mind over the years.
Is this a demonstration that the (Leftist/Left-Liberal) No Platform Policy is not only more ubiquitous than you’d think, but also more extreme? You see, it’s easy to justify or rationalise one’s No Platform Policy simply by arguing - or thinking - that the comments, or emails, are sent by evil people with evil views. And no one would want to give a platform to an evil person, would they? But that’s the precise way in which every censor and every anti-democrat has argued his case. Your enemies are always evil and nefarious. (The BBC, Guardian, etc. would of course use that word, “evil”; but they’d think in these terms nonetheless.)
The question you need to ask these upholders of a possible (Leftist or Left-Liberal) No Platform Policy is how broad does their policy stretch? How many groups and individuals do they include in that policy? What do they class as “extreme” and even “evil”? When these questions are answered, if they ever are, the answers may well be surprising… to some.
*) The wording on the Guardian’s censored comments:
“This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn't abide by our community standards. Replies may also be deleted."