Commenting Rules

Commenting Rules

You have the right to remain silent. If you choose to comment, please observe the following six rules.

1. address this blogger or commenters on this blog in a civil way.

2. If you feel tempted to call this blogger, commenters on this blog, or any other people ********, sellouts, *******, or dumb*****, could it be so tempting because you will have to think harder before you can make a more valid point? If not, still refrain from the above, and similar forms of address.

3. If you feel that a commenter is a Fifty-Cent-Partisan and want to address him or her as such, make sure that you have good evidence. As a rule there isn’t much evidence. Besides, any comment, no matter who made it, should be taken for the value of the point it makes. It is either worth your time, or it isn’t.

4. Don’t build more than five links into one comment. Otherwise, it may be filtered.

5. If your comment doesn’t appear instantly, it has probably been filtered anyway. It will then usually appear within 24 hours, when this blogger is checking his blog.

commenting_rules

6. Civility shouldn’t be confused with harmony. Just use your good judgment, re civility. In case of differences about good judgment, this blogger’s judgment – good or bad – will prevail.

14 Responses to “Commenting Rules”

  1. Quote from your article” What Foarp has dug up from an, umm, anchorman (for the sake of civility, I’m not going to use the noun I deem truly apposite re Chris Gelken) would suggest that the changing times are playing a role, too.

    Have we met? You make an insulting remark, in a “civil” way, but insulting non the less. Based on what?

  2. I don’t think we’ve met, but I know what Press TV is.

    Your article about the changing times in Britain on The Latest, in my view, isn’t pleasant, but nobody needs to go far to hear similar excuses for extremist votes in his own neighborhood. It is, however, in vivid contrast to your own choices. You served two regime-owned broadcasters abroad, you live globalization your way, and then complain that globalization has come home to your own country. Again, for reasons of civility, I’m not using a noun of my choice.

    I’m aware of your comments on FOARP, where you write that the article was written by someone else. I’m not familiar with British law, but I understand that there is rule of law. If it was that easy to put ones own words into someone else’s mouth, any not-so-decent politician in Britain, even on district level, could make use of this kind of tactic any day.

    So, if The Latest publishes a statement that says that it wasn’t you, I’ll change noun in my post into verb, and – possibly, not necessarily – remove your name.

  3. Thank you for your prompt response. If you had followed the comments closely, I think I made it quite clear that the article was a distortion, and a total corruption of the original that I had originally submitted. When I protested, I was ignored. Follow the links I included in the last post I put on FOARP’s blog, you will see for yourself that Mr Wadsworth is not above distorting headlines, quotes etc to create a more controversial article. That is his style, that is what he does. So, yes, I agree with you. The article that appeared was unpleasant. But I did not write it in that way. Please do not base your opinion of me on that one article, do a search, Ohmynews, Countercurrents for example, are good sources for my other work, and draw your own conclusions.

    Yes, we all know what PressTV has become. I joined at the very beginning, along with several other former BBC, ITN, al-Jazeera journalists who believed it was going to be an alternative voice, and an incredibly unique experience. The fact that they were allowing us into the country in the first place was enough to whet the appetite of any journalist. None of us were naive about the nature of the government, please give us credit for that. And indeed, in the beginning it was different. Apart from anchoring the news, I was the host of a program called Middle East Today – and I am still amazed at the editorial freedom my team and I had to discuss issues – live and without censorship. They certainly do not have that freedom today, and I will be the first to point that out.

    But after a while there was a change in management, things did start to change – little by little, but enough for me to decide that this wasn’t a service I wished to be associated with anymore. So I left.

    You might be interested to learn that while Gil and Mr. Wadsworth have both accused me of anti-semetism, based entirely on my association with PressTV, Mr Wadsworth has become a regular commentator on the station – usually with his old pal George Galloway. Don’t take my word for it, google it! And oh, don’t those two hammer the British government for the benefit of the Iranian audience!

    So, as for being anti-semetic, Gil needs do a little more research. One of my editors – quite senior in the organisation – was Jewish. Another of the news and public affairs (documentary) directors was Jewish. We also had Armenian Christians, and goodness knows what on the team. We even had an American/Iranian Jew working at PressTV in the online service. He was there through choice. Go figure! There was no overt discrimination based on religion in the newsroom.

    (Yes, there was nepotism, cronyism, and not a little corruption in the overall organisation – but no, no obvious discrimination based on Shia or Sunni, Jew or Armenian).

    You really have to visit the place to understand this.

    The government of Iran may often be very vocal in their opposition to Israel and that country’s policies – but then, when they didn’t realize they were being overheard, so were Presidents Nicolas Sarkozy and Barack Obama.

    What many people fail to understand or appreciate, being opposed to the policies of the Israeli government does not make one an anti-semite. I assume you are German. If you disagree with the policies of the Christian Democrats does that make you anti-German? Of course not. If I disagree with those policies, does that make me anti-German?

    You make reference to a second regime-owned broadcaster, I suppose you are referring to CCTV. Yes, and I have to say my experience there was very similar to that at PressTV. So I left.

    Curiously, I was also Senior Associate Editor for a newspaper in South Korea – and frequently found the censorship there incredibly stifling. In one way or another, editorial censorship happens everywhere.

    There was a third “regime” owned company I have been employed by. I also worked for CRI in Beijing. Producing and hosting a program called “Today on Beyond Beijing” – you can still research that on my own blog. It was a unique program. The first English language radio show to go out live – with guests from around the world joining us by phone or in the studio. In fact, we broke some previously formidable taboos, and were even nominated for a Gold Standard Award by a Hong Kong based political public relations company.

    If you do decide to research my blog, you will find a very long list of senior U.S. officials, former ambassadors, China critics etc who joined our debates – and I repeat, live and uncensored.

    Some these guests of have actually contributed “recommendations” to my LinkedIn profile, if you’d care to check.

    In all fairness, if you spoke to someone who actually knows me – rather than listen to an individual who has never met me, and is very selective in what he posts on his blog – you would rather quickly learn that I have never “drunk the kool-aid” or been a “useful idiot” for any of the companies I have worked for.

    And as for living globalization my own way but still being able to criticize it, interesting point, but rather oversimplified. If you are going back to the article in The-Latest.com – let’s clear up a few basic facts.

    Everywhere I have worked – Thailand, China, Korea, Australia, New Zealand….. I have always had to go through often quite stringent immigration hoops to get the job – professional qualifications aside! I think I can say with some confidence that my appearance on the scene has never put a local person out of work. In fact, I can also say with some confidence, that my contributions to expanding readership, listenership or viewership, has often contributed to the hiring of more local staff.

    Unlike, for example (oh here comes the bit that FOARP will use on his blog) an unskilled worker from the European Union who can just basically walk into the UK and work “on the black” for less than minimum wage, pay no taxes, no national insurance, and put local workers out of a job.

    Gosh, there, I went and said it.

    But then, FOARP is in Poland himself, and has previously worked for that now infamous producer of computer goods and multiple suicides, Foxxcon, in Southern China. But we don’t hear much about him saying what he did to improve the lives of the average worker, do we?

    Just that he worked there, and left before the suicides began. Yeah, right Gil, we believe ya buddy.

  4. Gosh, there, I went and said it.

    Yes. And I’m wondering why you said it. A Briton in his own country can work illegally, too, no less than a continental European.

    To be clear: I’m not accusing you of anti-semitism. That’s a label I’m using thriftily, given the weight such a label carries in my country. I’m not criticizing people who make such an allegation more frequently either – I’m taking my countries history into account.
    And let me also be clear that I’m not going to discuss Middle East issues with someone who worked for Press TV.

    The alternative voice you apparently saw in it was a propaganda outlet. That they try to pick a foreign target audience up where it stands, and that this position usually won’t be right in the middle of the guardian council, should be obvious. Unless the pigheads take over, that is. But with or without them weighing in, it was the same regime’s tool.

    I’m aware that you say that someone re-wrote or twisted your article. This ‘s what I replied to in this comment.

    As for your allegation that FOARP worked for a Taiwanese company where a striking number of suicides occured: he worked for a company which operated in a totalitarian country – but he didn’t work for that country’s regime. I don’t know if you can see the difference, but I can.

    I won’t act on the feelings you expressed in your initial comment in this thread, for the reasons I gave you in my previous comment, and for your comment on an unskilled worker from the European Union, but I do believe it is a matter of fairness, or openness, that you get the space it takes to tell your side of the story, as long as the quantity remains reasonable. I will add an update to the post you referred to in your first comment, to make sure that every reader can form his own view.

    That said, I think it’s worth pointing out that the longer this thread becomes, the less people will probably be inclined to read.

  5. A few points and then I am leaving the discussion.
    Yes, indeed, British workers too can work illegally, and many do. However, they usually do not congregate together into a single house converted into virtual dormitories where they can keep costs to an absolute minimum by sharing. And consequently undercut the local labour in terms of salary. Let us not be naive, we know this happens. Both you and FOARP know this happens. And it happens in Germany too. It happens in all the richer countries of Europe.

    While I was in Tehran I also worked for several overseas radio stations and print outlets on a freelance basis – not just PressTV. And while I was just one of a score of foreigners who joined the company at the beginning, I was also one of the first to leave.

    If I haven’t managed to convince you in my previous post that the average Iranian isn’t anti-semitic, or anti-Christian, and consequently the tone of the station itself (that employed several Jewish and Christian editors, writers, etc,) was not anti-semitic but rather anti-Israeli government policy, then there’s not much point in me arguing this further.

    In my previous post I also explained at some length the editorial freedom I enjoyed as the host of Middle East Today, but you’ve chosen to ignore that.

    Regarding the article in The-Latest.com. I have stated on any number of occasions that I would be more than willing to open up my email records to a responsible person show the full exchange between myself and Mr Wadsworth. But to give you an indication of what you might discover in those emails, here it is, in Wadsworth’s own words.

    http://www.the-latest.com/chris-gelken-racial-prejudice-and-bnp

    Wadsworth begins paragraph 6 with:

    “Several emails passed between Gelken and the editor, culminating in a sub-edited comment piece that was shown to Gelken before publication. He objected.”

    Before publication. I objected.

    How many times does that have to be repeated before it becomes apparent to even the most obtuse reader: The article was a corruption of the original I had written. It was something put together by Wadsworth. I objected. Wadsworth published anyway.

    Let’s just have those words again, in case anyone missed them:

    “Several emails passed between Gelken and the editor, culminating in a sub-edited comment piece that was shown to Gelken before publication. He objected.”

    Yet I am the one who is still being vilified as the author of the piece, not Wadsworth.

    Now how the hell does that work?

    And to close this. I have been in and out of China since 1986. I have seen some quite remarkable changes. And not wishing to sound like an apologist or a “panda hugger” – many of those changes have been positive.

    But any foreigner who tries for one second to distance themselves from the regime by saying they worked for a wholly owned foreign enterprise are kidding themselves about the contribution they were making to in your words – the totalitarian state. They were there to make money, and screw the poor bloody workers. Their single purpose was to make a product and generate revenues for a select few in that totalitarian state and their stakeholders overseas. It is an argument I have heard a thousand times from businessmen and engineers who turned a blind eye to the appalling conditions of the average factory worker while stuffing money into their own pockets, and the coffers of, how did you describe it? The totalitarian state. And frankly, the self deluding hypocrisy of it makes me sick.

    I would like to say this has been fun. I’d like to. But I can’t. Politely.

    Thanks, and Auf Wiedersehen.

  6. It seems that this is what The Latest puts at the center of its accusations against you:

    “I was hearing and seeing things I never thought I would see. What began, I am sure with the best of intentions, has gone badly wrong. Reverse discrimination, unparalleled and unrestricted immigration, a real fear among some officials of offending certain “minorities” (I hate that word) that has reached the point where some people are being excluded or discriminated against simply on the basis of being Anglo-Saxon…”

    If that is their main criticism of you, and given that they write that the article was “a true reflection” of your article (which is rather vague), I may have to think again – not out of sympathy, but for the sake of accuracy.

    You write that after your previous comment, you would leave the discussion. I understand that you intend to leave the discussion, because you see no chance to make this blogger re-think, based on what you say.
    Depending on how you view my response, feel free to leave the discussion, or adding more.

    To avoid misunderstandings, I haven’t made up my mind yet, re theThe Latest article, but I’ll come back to it either tonight, or during the weekend. Advice to anyone else who may wish to comment: I suggest that we keep this thread calm, rather than vivid. comments that add insight are welcome; mere lobbying isn’t.

  7. “However, they usually do not congregate together into a single house converted into virtual dormitories where they can keep costs to an absolute minimum by sharing.”

    Right, no-one does this in the UK . . . . . except for pretty much everyone I knew in university, including myself. Go to Brighton and more than half the houses on any given street will be shared houses occupied by students trying to stretch out their student loans by living as cheaply as possible.

    In fact, it is hard to imagine that anyone with any familiarity with the UK in at least the last 3-4 decades could say that British folk do not congregate in communal houses to eke out low incomes – television programs and movies from The Young Ones to Trainspotting to Spaced all say otherwise.

    “If I haven’t managed to convince you in my previous post that the average Iranian isn’t anti-semitic, or anti-Christian, and consequently the tone of the station itself (that employed several Jewish and Christian editors, writers, etc,) was not anti-semitic but rather anti-Israeli government policy, then there’s not much point in me arguing this further. “

    Because Press TV doesn’t represent the views of the average Iranian, for one thing?

    “But then, FOARP is in Poland himself, and has previously worked for that now infamous producer of computer goods and multiple suicides, Foxxcon, in Southern China. But we don’t hear much about him saying what he did to improve the lives of the average worker, do we?

    Just that he worked there, and left before the suicides began. Yeah, right Gil, we believe ya buddy.”

    I think it’s fair enough for people to ask questions about my time at Foxconn, given what has happened since I left. My answer hasn’t changed – there were things I saw and heard which made me uncomfortable, and which I’ve written about here ( http://foarp.blogspot.com/2009/07/trouble-in-foxconns-forbidden-city.html ). However, even though I walked through the factory floor every day, talked to people at all levels in the company every day, worked the same hours as them, I never saw any actual sign of anything majorly wrong with the factory. Had I seen something, I hope I would not have stood idly by.

    In fact, I am familiar with law firms in which the conditions (15-hour days, 6-7 day weeks, constant physical and verbal abuse from the boss) were much worse than anything I actually saw at Foxconn.

    As for me talking about what I did to improve the lot of the average worker, I wonder why you even think I would have anything to say on this subject. I worked there for my own personal gain – yes, my job did help protect the jobs of everyone else by keeping competitors out of markets we were selling in to – but I obviously would not have done it if it had not been well paid and offered a good opportunity to gain experience.

    I could play the blame-spreading game and say that, since pretty much everyone owns something made at the Foxconn factory, everyone is responsible and therefore no-one is responsible (or at least, not me). However, this is not really an adult approach to things – the fact that other people may be responsible does not reduce your own responsibility. Instead, I can only say that since all the workers I spoke to seemed happy enough, since I never saw anything indicating a major problem, there was no way in which I could have predicted what is supposed to have occurred later.

    However, it is entirely predictable that Iranian and Chinese state-owned television stations will be propaganda outlets, and that anyone who voluntarily works for such a station risks implicitly endorsing such propaganda, and the regime that produces it. For this reason I have never, would never, work for a government such as that which now presides over mainland China, and take a dim view of those who do.

  8. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that two different levels are confused here.

    One level: Foarp, who worked for a Taiwanese company in China. From here, working conditions don’t look different to me at Foxconn, from those in other (advanced) Chinese companies, or in other emerging countries.

    Another level: Richard from Peking Duck worked for the Global Times, and if I remember correctly (I don’t read there regularly), he disliked the way they made PR – not the things that the Global Times tried to sell. Gelken worked for Iranian and Chinese state broadcasters. Both of them, Richard and Gelken, weren’t paid by companies, but by the Iranian and the Chinese state.

    I see no other reason for this confusion between the two levels, than the impulse wanting to say, “you did it, too!”. That would be childish.

  9. N.B.: Richard and Gelken worked for the Iranian and the Chinese state, respectively. As far as I know, Richard never worked for the Iranian government, and never would. Just to avoid misunderstandings.

  10. I could play the blame-spreading game and say that, since pretty much everyone owns something made at the Foxconn factory….

    Yeah, that would seem to be yet another level – but I’m wondering what the reaction would be if this or any other blog called for “boycotting Chinese products”. Decisions depend on individual responsibility, and it makes no sense to blur the boundaries. If we followed Gelken’s advice to be “consistent” (that’s how I’m reading it), we’d probably turn pretty totalitarian ourselves.

    Unless Gelken wants to add more, I suggest that we end the discussion here – and with a note that the article published by The Latest in December 2009 should not be held against him. It’s authorship, in my view, is unknown, but lies in The Latest’s responsibility, not in Gelken’s.

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