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A rare glimpse at censorship in action in real time on the Net

I was really pleased recently to get a link to a blog, which from the link description strongly agreed with me on my controversial Lennon vs. Bono piece in the Washington Post, also featured on Aid Watch.

I mean really pleased — my roster of supporters just doubled! I dropped the neighbor’s baby that I was holding and rushed over to my computer to click on the link, waiting with growing excitement as the link slowly loaded, to give me…to give me…finally…and…finally…and…again…finally……

Well, at least, I got an unintended rare glimpse of the world of blog censorship LIVE and in REAL TIME, self-imposed and otherwise. As the to-remain-anonymous anonymous witness-protection-protectee told me in an anonymously wistful anonymous email:

“He’s too strong.  He’s just too strong.”

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  1. Ed Carr wrote:

    Consider your supporters doubled again – I put this up a few days ago . . . “Easterly says what most of us are thinking”

    Posted December 16, 2010 at 2:47 pm | Permalink
  2. Matt wrote:

    What’s the link? Maybe the address just changed?

    Posted December 16, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Permalink
  3. Tom Paulson wrote:

    Ha! I know the feeling … It was a great article, whether most agreed or not.

    Posted December 16, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Permalink
  4. Ken wrote:
    Posted December 16, 2010 at 7:30 pm | Permalink
  5. William Easterly wrote:

    Matt, um, no, sorry, it wasn’t a change of address…

    Posted December 16, 2010 at 10:47 pm | Permalink
  6. David Zetland wrote:

    So who censored it? The writer’s boss, partner, child? The Feds, Putin, Assange?

    Why? Was the writer so well connected that your piece would have become official policy somewhere?

    Do tell. (Oh, and I obviously support your POV. I can’t afford Louis Vuitton heros.)

    Posted December 17, 2010 at 11:06 am | Permalink
  7. William Easterly wrote:

    David, I can’t answer this without endangering my source, but I think if you use Occam’s Razor to choose the simplest theory you will figure it out. Bill

    Posted December 17, 2010 at 12:14 pm | Permalink
  8. Matt Richmond wrote:

    I think Bono did it. He’s using his powers for evil.

    Posted December 17, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Permalink
  9. Anonymous wrote:

    I am the one who was censored. Bono gives big money to my organization, and they thought that pissing off Bono could cause another Sunday Bloody Sunday.

    Posted December 17, 2010 at 4:41 pm | Permalink
  10. Ed Carr wrote:
    Posted December 18, 2010 at 10:21 pm | Permalink
  11. William Easterly wrote:

    Ed, In defense of Anonymous, I think it’s understandable they were really annoyed to have their blog censored for fear of Bono even though Bono was not directly involved. I think that is a much larger issue than a few childish photos. Bill

    Posted December 19, 2010 at 7:20 pm | Permalink
  12. Anonymous wrote:

    Ed – I apologize for any misunderstanding. My intention was not to belittle his or anyone else’s work, or show childish pictures of Bono. You’re right that Bono didn’t personally censor my post, but I did find it unfortunate that the threat of compromising donor dollars by discussing the divide was indicative of a culture where criticism is compromised. To your point, I try to write about substance, and agree that snark doesn’t help.

    Posted December 23, 2010 at 8:27 am | Permalink

One Trackback

  1. By Those who can’t, snark « Open The Echo Chamber on December 18, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    […] days, though, I see the need for an intervention.  On his twitter feed, Bill Easterly has promoted a commenter who felt s/he had to remove a post critical of Bono because “Bono gives big money to my organization, and they thought that pissing off Bono […]

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    The Aid Watch blog is a project of New York University's Development Research Institute (DRI). This blog is principally written by William Easterly, author of "The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists' Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics" and "The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good," and Professor of Economics at NYU. It is co-written by Laura Freschi and by occasional guest bloggers. Our work is based on the idea that more aid will reach the poor the more people are watching aid.

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