On February 21, 2008, Bill O'Reilly published an article describing the horrific, hateful user comments that appeared on a HuffPost news thread concerning Nancy Reagan (wishing for her death, etc.; more here; see Sections 5 & 6).
On March 19, 2008, "The O'Reilly Factor" featured a brief expose' on the history of hate speech at HuffPost, and the fact that despite its claims that it removed "offensive" comments regarding Nancy Reagan, they were still published, one month later. TownHall.com columnist Amanda Carpenter speculated that HuffPost management knows about it, but is not taking appropriate measures to stem it. Here is the video:
On March 20, 2008, Ms. Huffington lashed out at Bill O'Reilly in a blog article, in which she said, in part:
"[W]e refuse to let the vile actions of a miniscule number of anonymous, trouble-making trolls force us to shut down our comments section."
The facts, however --- documented extensively here at Huff-Watch --- are as follows:
- The "vile actions" to which Ms. Huffington refers --- including those that appeared on the Nancy Reagan thread --- are most often not from "anonymous, trouble-making trolls*," but are perpetrated by long-term HuffPost users, mostly its resident "gang" of raging leftists, some of whom it has enabled, emboldened and protected for years (see here, here, here, here, elsewhere here on Huff-Watch)
[*For a definition of a "troll," see here]
- HuffPost had been in the practice of shutting down the comments sections of its news threads (often on a pre-emptive basis), long before, and well after the above statement by Ms. Huffington. (here)
- As is documented in detail here, HuffPost had been pre-moderating user comments on its news threads to some degree since October 2007, and definitely since March 1, 2008. This means that the only user comments that appear on its news threads are those it has reviewed, approved and made the decision to publish. Therefore, Ms. Huffington's "troll" theory is inapplicable to anything that occurred on its news threads since that time.
- Note that in the entries below, when you see, "See 1, here" etc., this refers to a link (here) to a companion thread here at Huff-Watch, which contains screen captures and PDFs, obtained at the time that, or soon after HuffPost shut down the cited comment threads.
Examples of HuffPost shutting down comment threads before March 20, 2008:
(PDFs available upon request for confirmation)
"Over 20 Die In Attack Aimed At Cheney" (February 27, 2007; see Section 1, here. In summary, this was a 500+/- comment thread, on which many users expressed their regret that Cheney survived the attack, and how much better the world would be if someone would murder him. Upon being exposed in the media, HuffPost began removing comments, then pages, then "scrubbed" the entire thread of all comments. The incident was covered by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michelle Malkin and others.)
"Bush Almost Blows Himself Up" (April 8, 2007; See 1, here. Note: This was another example of one of HuffPost's misleading headlines, originating from this source, which played the story "straight.")
"One Killed In VA Tech Shooting" (April 16, 2007; Note: This thread was open for 90 minutes, then HuffPost "scrubbed" all comments and shut the thread down to new ones.)
VA Tech President Confirms Gunman Was A Student (April 17, 2007; Note: This thread was open for 9 minutes, then HuffPost "scrubbed" all comments and shut the thread down to new ones.)
Gunman Accused Of Stalking Female Students In 2005 (April 18, 2007; Note: This thread was open for 3 minutes, then HuffPost "scrubbed" all comments and shut the thread down to new ones.)
"Six Charged With Plot To Attack NJ Base To 'Kill As Many Soldiers As Possible'" (May 8, 2007; See 2, here. Note: Hate comments inundated the thread, claiming this was all an anti-Muslim conspiracy by the U.S. government, then HuffPost "scrubbed" all comments and shut the thread down to new ones.)
"Former GOP Rep Henry Hyde Dies At 83" (November 29, 2007; See 3, here)
"Giuliani Spends Night In Hospital" (December 20, 2007; See 4, here)
"Happy New Year 2008 From HuffPost" (December 31, 2007; See 5, here)
“7 Die in Shooting at Jerusalem Seminary” (March 6, 2008; See 6, here; as Little Green Footballs noted, this was one of two Islamist terrorism-related news story threads that HuffPost shut down on a pre-emptive basis on this day; see here)
“Former British PM Thatcher in Hospital” (March 7, 2008; See 7, here)
“Female Suicide Bomber Kills 43 in Iraq” (March 17, 2008; See 8, here. Note: The HuffPost story featured a picture of Vice President Cheney, who was visiting Iraq at the time)
Examples of HuffPost shutting down comment threads after March 20, 2008: (PDFs available upon request for confirmation):
"Charlton Heston Dead At 83" (April 6, 2008; See 9, here.)
"Tony Snow Dead" (July 12, 2008; HuffPost closed this thread to comments as soon as it went up; after being exposed by NewsBusters.org, it opened the thread to comments --- to the predictable, hate-filled result)
"Israel Celebrates Its 60th With Pride, But Also Uncertainty" (May 8, 2008; Note: See 10, here; HuffPost pre-emptively shut down the thread, then opened it later --- then shut it down again; additional deceptions.)
"Court Spares Exxon $2 Billion In Damages From Valdez Spill" (June 25, 2008; Note: See 11, here; apparently HuffPost opened the thread at some point after it had pre-emptively such it down.)
"Robert Novak Diagnosed With Brain Tumor" (July 28, 2008; See 12, here.)