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Banning sexually degrading terms on HTO

By Scott Tibbs, April 26, 2011

Herald-Times editor Bob Zaltsberg addressed the use of the sexually degrading term "teabagger" for Tea Party protesters in his editorial yesterday, saying the H-T editors "make every effort to remove comments from HeraldTimesOnline.com that use the term, and to edit it from letters sent by readers."

I will not quibble with the first claim. Moderating a heavily used forum like HeraldTimesOnline.com is not an easy task, with hundreds of messages posted daily and discussions often getting heated. It is very difficult to catch every use of the term. The second claim, however, is simply not true - and Zaltsberg knows it.

I posted in the comments that the H-T has repeatedly published the word "teabagger" or a variation thereof, with multiple quotes copy-pasted from articles published in the Herald-Times. One of those uses was in a guest column while another was written by one of the H-T's official community columnists. My comment was promptly deleted.

So let me get this straight. Directly quoting the literal, word-for-word text of an article published in the Herald-Times is suddenly a violation of HeraldTimesOnline.com terms of service? Are you kidding me? All I did was copy and paste what the H-T itself has published, and I get smacked with the Delete Stick.

I do not have a problem with the H-T banning the use of the sexually degrading insult "teabagger" in the comments. It is a good policy and one that should have been implemented two years ago. I have a problem with the flagrant lies used to explain the new policy, when everyone knows the H-T has never been serious about keeping that word off the printed page. I also have a problem with the hypocrisy of deleting comments that merely quote what has already been published in the newspaper.

Like I said, this is a good policy. But Zaltsberg needs to be an adult in explaining it. Had Zaltsberg admitted the newspaper made a bad call in repeatedly publishing a sexually degrading insult and will not make the same mistake in the future, I can respect that. It is honorable to admit a mistake and change course.

When the new policy is justified with lies that everyone sees through immediately, combined with hypocrisy in the enforcement of the policy, I have no respect whatsoever for the argument.

See examples below:


The important thing is to save the economy. The tea-baggers are being used.

April 16, 2009


(the Teabagger extremists apparently having forgotten the Bush familyís close ties to the House of Saud),


So while on our Earth (Earth 1) teabaggers fade into the background

April 23, 2009


I believe in making your opinions heard and open intelligent debate, but the footage I have seen of these tea bag parties shows some serious hatred and contempt for our government and an elected president

May 2, 2009


The ridiculous "tea bag" protests are just one demonstration of how little honest debate goes on about real economic issues.

May 10, 2009


A confused teabagger, pleading to keep the socialistic system he loves. More on socialism later.

September 19, 2009


QUESTION: Since this new plan will save Monroe County taxpayers millions by not subsidizing speculators profits, where are the teabagger's who are all for lower taxes?

Nocember 18, 2009


I was amused by Brian Christiansenís "tea bag" advocacy letter. He gets a lot wrong concerning our national deficits.

March 21, 2010


"Bush Lite" wants the job but doesnít qualify as a brand-name extremist to rouse teabag rabble.

Septembver 23, 2010


Tea-bag supporters rant about a "Ground Zero mosque." Theyíre lying. Itís not a mosque, and itís not at "Ground Zero."

November 23, 2010


How gullible are tea-bag voters?

December 27, 2010