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Quite possibly the dumbest thing ever published by the BBC

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By See-Dubya  •  June 16, 2008 01:32 PM

Okay, it’s a perfectly reasonable and informative article about the threat of arrest faced by political bloggers around the world. Except for the last sentence, which is also the caption they pulled for this picture. Let me just screencap it so you can savor the dumbness:

bloggerarrests.png

China, Iran, and the US?

Well, they point out that it is an election year, so I guess that means anything goes…wait, are those jackboots at my door? I may have to hit “publish” before this post is completely fin…

UPDATE: Okay, I’m back from Room 101* and the lobotomy scar barely even shows.

Interesting thing–that BBC article refers to a World Information Access Project report about blogger arrests, which notes there have been 64 cases of bloggers getting pinched since 2003 (plus many more in Burma which couldn’t all be verified.) I looked in their data set, and three of them were in the United States.

Don’t you wanna know why?

The first blogger arrested in America was Daniel Aljughaifi, “for terrorism”. Yep. As in training with Al Qaeda. I’m pretty cool with his getting arrested.

Second? Jack McClellan. They give the reason for that as “For posting pictures of little girls, being a pedophile”. Great! Enjoy prison!

Third is a little more complicated, but not too much. Josh Wolf, “For videotaping a burning police car.” Yeah, not quite. He was arrested for refusing to turn over his video of a burning police car to a grand jury in a criminal investigation. Not quite the same thing. In any case, judging from Wolf’s sideburned hipster-doofus picture I support his arrest on a count of aggravated pretension.

Even if you disagree with what happened to Josh Wolf, it’s no different from what Judith Miller went through when she refused to name her sources in Plamegate, and not inconsistent with our views of a free press. It’s not like American bloggers are being specially targeted by the Ministry of Truth. Well, except for Mark Steyn, but he wasn’t actually arrested, and he’s not a U.S. citizen, and that was in Canada anyway.

For the BBC to equate these cases with the sort of political repression practiced in China and Iran, and to pretend that that storm troopers will be dragging U.S. bloggers off their keyboards by November is the worst sort of anti-American propaganda.

But doesn’t it sound more edgy and dangerous to pretend that blogging in America could get you arrested? I’m a rebel, man. You don’t want to get too close to me.

* Appropriately, Wikipedia’s entry on Room 101 in Orwell’s 1984 links to this explanation of how Orwell decided to call it Room 101:

Orwell based Room 101 in part on his experiences of the BBC and the political vetting that used to go on in its conference room on the first floor.

The BBC conference room was Room 101. Perfect!
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{Post by See-Dubya}.

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