Saturday, April 5, 2008

Manufacturing Controversy

There's a bit of a stir being raised over censorship of an online search engine run by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. They receive funding from the U.S. federal government, who aren't big fans of promoting abortion.

To be on the safe side, the administrators of this website decided to block search results for the term "abortion". Of course, most places reporting this are panicking over it, calling it government censorship, even though these administrators were in no way required or ordered to take this step.

From the first time I heard about this, I thought it was a setup. It was all a publicity stunt, meant to make the public sympathise with these poor folks who run the website, being bullied around by the big bad government censor and show, once again, that Republicans and pro-lifers are bad, mean people. That's why the media have been all over this, and why it's gotten such play in the blogosphere.

It doesn't even make sense to say that blocking the search term "abortion" would be done to appease pro-lifers. If some shadowy government figure had tried to force this blocking, I'd be opposed to it. The word "abortion" is also included in pro-life concepts like "abortion alternatives", "abortion limits", etc. To even suggest that we want the term excised from the public vernacular is silly.

Hey, guess what? Looks like my hunch was right! I love it when that happens!

The administrators overreacted to someone not liking a couple of articles, took a hissy fit, and yanked out the search results like a seven year-old stomping off with their baseball.

Of course, the question now is whether the media (including bloggers) will be as quick to report this part of the story.

(Cue the sound of chirping crickets.)

Oh, and just to get out in front of the silly liberal argument that the American federal government still censors people by way of the the Mexico City Policy (explanation linked to above if you look carefully) - there's a difference between saying "You aren't allowed to say this" and "Say whatever you want, but I'm not going to pay you for it." Leftists have trouble with that distinction because they think that other people should pay for whatever they want, and refusing to do so is mean.

We've all seen toddlers throwing tantrums in stores, demanding that Mommy and Daddy buy them something; a liberal is someone who just never grew out of that phase.

Enough rambling. Here's a picture of a toy bird and chip cans.

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