Friday, December 3, 2010

Is Obama or Palin more authoritarian? Facebook has the answer.

Both released their obligatory "Hanukkah is awesome" greeting to Facebook this morning (Obama, Palin). The comment sections beneath the two highlights one very important difference between them.

In real life, both politicians have an active, engaged, inflamed group of citizens who hate everything about them. But if Facebook were your guide, you would think that Sarah Palin had an approval rating hovering near 100%. The only hint of an opposition comes from the fact that any time a negative comment gets through, five or six of her devoted followers post a quick STFU HATER before it gets taken down.

I know from firsthand experience that posting any hint of disagreement to Palin's notes on Facebook lead to immediate banning. I was polite, respectful, and cited my sources. Didn't matter. I only got two posts off before being banned. I still get to be counted among her "fans" and can still access to her deep thoughts on economic and foreign policy, but I must suffer them in silence.

Obama has to be censoring the most inflammatory commentors. But you can still see lots of comments that question his patriotism, criticize him for specific acts, and generally remind us that there are people out there who really, really hate him.

Being the President, it's hard to imagine that Obama just doesn't have the staff to police his Facebook activities effectively. The continued existence of the negative comments must stem from an outlook that values freedom of expression and the views of political opponents far more than Palin does.

One more data point in support of my belief that Obama wants to be President of the Whole United States, while Palin is running for President of "Real" (read: Rural) America.

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