Friday, January 15, 2010

Appleton's Ministry of Truth in Action

Winston dialled 'back numbers' on the telescreen and called for the appropriate issues of The Times, which slid out of the pneumatic tube after only a few minutes' delay. The messages he had received referred to articles or news items which for one reason or another it was thought necessary to alter, or, as the official phrase had it, to rectify.

As soon as Winston had dealt with each of the messages, he clipped his speakwritten corrections to the appropriate copy of The Times and pushed them into the pneumatic tube. Then, with a movement which was as nearly as possible unconscious, he crumpled up the original message and any notes that he himself had made, and dropped them into the memory hole to be devoured by the flames.

Orwell, 1984

That familiar passage describes how Winston Smith, as an employee of the Ministry of Truth, "rectified" public records by excising inconvenient or embarrassing facts and casting them into the Memory Hole.

The stalwart defenders of truth, freedom, and decency in Appleton, as is demonstrated below, follow exactly the same procedure in the interests of sanitizing their corporate image.

(Click on the images below to enlarge.)

"We live in a world of double standards," pontificated JBS CEO Art Thompson in a January 13 essay. "There is the standard of what a socialist can say and do and then there is the standard of what a conservative or constitutionalist can say or do."

Art either is possessed of world-class audacity, or stricken with a crippling lack of self-awareness, to be hurling that particular set of stones from the dubious shelter of a very brittle glass house. By "stones," of course, I refer to the geologic objects. If Art were actually possessed of the metaphorical kind, he wouldn't have to take refuge in cheap, petty acts of censorship.

As I have copiously documented in this space, Art and his ally Jack McManus are notorious for their double-jointed ethics.

Herewith a brief but necessary recap:

In 2000, Art campaigned to have Jack cashiered as JBS President because of Jack's long-standing relationship with a schismatic Catholic group whose teachings are unabashedly anti-Semitic. Jack was videotaped delivering an address to the group in which he propounded a theory of history and politics depicting a Jewish-Masonic conspiracy as the enemy of the Christian West.

Jack is entitled to both his religious convictions and his political opinions, of course, even when they flatly contradict the principles and official positions of the JBS. But under long-established, black-letter corporate policy, Jack would be -- at the very least -- "red-starred" for his high-profile association with an anti-Semitic sect.

It's impossible to see how he could, in good conscience, continue to be the most prominent spokesman and official ideologist of the Society when he engaged in conduct and cultivated associations that would have been grounds for expulsion on the part of a volunteer member -- unless he was the beneficiary of one of the "double standards" assailed by Art in his January 13 essay.

Jack was removed as President and given a place on the Council, but he wasn't fired. A few years later, Art collaborated with Jack -- who retained his position on the Board of Incorporators -- to oust G. Vance Smith as CEO. Apparently as a reward for his cooperation, Art re-instated Jack as JBS President.

This was done despite the fact that Jack was being blackmailed by Vance's supporters, who threatened to take the compromising video excerpts of Jack's anti-Jewish speeches -- excerpts that had been compiled by Art Thompson five years earlier -- to media outlets if Jack didn't agree to a compromise that would leave Vance in his job for at least another year. Jack explained his predicament to me. Disgusted over the prospect of the management struggle being settled by blackmail, I resigned from the staff of the JBS.

Two days later, after Vance was removed and the Thompson-McManus faction was installed, Jack invited me back on staff and made a point of having me stand next to them when Art first addressed the Home Office staff as CEO.

One year later, almost to the day, Art and Jack, along with Alan Scholl and Gary Benoit, decided that I had to be fired as Senior Editor because I had begun to publish a personal blog entitled Pro Libertate. I did this because of numerous e-mails and other communications from JBS members and TNA subscribers who were puzzled when Appleton discontinued the Birch Blog.

The Gang of Four has never clearly explained why I was fired. I was invited to grovel for my job by taking down the blog, apologizing in writing for everything published therein, and promising that every word I wrote or spoke for public consumption would be vetted by Appleton. Had I done so, Art told me, I might get my job back. I wrote him a letter explaining that Appleton rented my time as an employee, but didn't own my name or my private time. So he dispatched an official termination letter sanctimoniously -- and falsely -- accusing me of behaving in a fashion incompatible with the "principles" laid down by Robert Welch.

He never specified how I had violated those principles, with good reason: Unlike Jack, who violated (and continues to violate) those principles promiscuously, impenitently, and with impunity, I never did.

One standard applied to me. Another entirely different one applied to Jack. By my math, two is twice as many as one; ergo, Art and Jack (and Alan and Gary) were guilty of a double standard.

Accordingly, when Art saw fit to pose as an ethical tutor, my responsibility to the truth dictated that I underscore his own culpable hypocrisy. Doing so meant I had to find a way to breach the Chinese Wall erected to keep me from posting to comment threads found on JBS websites. I knew -- on the basis of previous performance -- that once the comment was posted it would soon be cast into the Memory Hole. Thankfully, with the help of a friend more computer-savvy than myself I was able to capture images of the comment thread (see above) before it was "rectified" by Appleton's Ministry of Truth.

Here's the full text of the comment:

[title] The Age of the Double Standard

How about this one: A self-described "freedom" organization fires a long-time senior editor for the supposed offense of maintaining a personal blog, but continues to employ a publisher who -- in defiance of long-standing company policy -- routinely gives speeches before anti-Semitic audiences? This patent hypocrisy is compounded by the fact that the same publisher had once been identified as a liability by the company CEO ... the author of the foregoing essay lamenting hypocrisy.

Motes and beams, Mr. Thompson.

As those who visit that thread in its current form can see, the comment has been dispatched into the ether.

The terms of usage statement at the JBS website specifies: "By submitting your comments we reserve the right, at our sole discretion, to change, modify, add, or delete your comments and portions of these Terms of Use at any time without further notice."

It is instructive to see how that "discretion" is employed: The comment above is confrontational and highly critical, but it is neither vulgar nor libelous. It is the documentable truth -- one that the supple-spined Upper Management in Appleton cannot countenance and from which it seeks to "protect" its readers.

This behavior is indistinguishable from the internet censorship practiced by China's Communist oligarchs and others of that ilk -- something the JBS has properly denounced.

Thus we find ourselves colliding with yet another of Appleton's double standards.

Oh, by the way.....

The comment thread here also illustrates, to good effect, why interdicting my posts is a corporate priority for the truth-aversive people in JBS Upper Management.

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