Tuesday, May 09, 2006



Deal arte de cruzar los oceanos, a bilingual Argentinian/Israeli blog, has described me as "El blogger" in an interesting post (scroll to the bottom for English translation) which does some basic statistical analysis of an Argentina Indymedia site, by breaking down the most recent articles into categories.

His findings are unsurprising and of further assistance to yesterday's reader challenge, in anybody's language.

Update: This is cool.

Hey! I just want to say that we don't say Olé in Argentina (there is no bull fighting there).

But you are from now on "El WatCHEr." You know, like the "Che" Guevara.

It's a sort of interesting survey of what's getting posted to the newwire, and its the sort of thing that indymedia editorial groups should be doing more of themselves.

But while it's interesting, I don't think it's an indictment against the indymedia site as being racist or anti-semitic. Indymedia is, after all, an open publishing forum (in theory). It stinks that racists and facists and idiots of all ilks post to a newswire, but it happens, and editors can only clean up the muck so quickly.

Having personally tried to combat anti-semitic tendancies of an indymedia group from the inside (as a former member of an indymedia collective's editorial group), I think a fairer way to judge a collective is to look at what stories the editorial group takes the step of actively featuring (promoting to the center column). That's where you find the clearest case of editorial voice and endorsement, and that's where you should start as a place to judge a collective.

If you do want to evaluate a collective's open newswire, then at least go back a month or so and take your data from there. That way you're looking at material that the editors have had time to handle (removing/hiding material they recognize as racist, etc.).
In response to the former commentary, I want to say that I participated a lot and for a long time in the open forums of Indymedia Argentina. I know that the editors never delete an antisemitic post or thread. I also know that the "survey" that I did was representative of everyday Indymedia Argentina.

I have volunteered myself on an occasion to be part of the collective effort of Indymedia Argentina to help them delete the antisemitic commentaries, and my proposal was received publicly with scorn by the editors. (They don't know me, so they can't trust me, so in a sense they are right, but then do an effort and eliminate antisemitic propaganda!)

I agree with you that the stories that the Indymedia people promote to the center page represent the real spirit of their editorial voice. And never once I have found an antisemitic story there. However, they have clear policy lines regarding racism, that they don't enforce, and when you do a google search about judaism or Israel, you will see the bile coming from a site called Indymedia Argentina.

They are responsible for what they help produce. And they help produce shit.

First, let me just start by saying that I agree that there is far too much anti-semitic material on many indymedia sites that isn't getting removed in a thorough and timely manner.

(a) Don't conflate the Argentina Indymedia site with all indymedia sites. Every indymedia site is an autonomous collective, and there's a lot of variety in editorial quality and capability when it comes to weeding out all the racist material that gets sent.

(b) Indymedia Argentina--any indymedia--does *not* produce the material in the open newswires (unless it's specifically listed as being authored by members of the indymedia group).

Indymedia is an open forum that has been used by racists... and anti-racists, and every other political group and angle imaginable.

And when you start blaming open distribution sites for the content that gets pushed across them then you're on a very, very slippery slope. By the same logic, I could say that the internet itself is the problem, serving as a distribution tool that has been heavily used by racists to push their agenda of hate.

Do I think that *some* Indymedia sites are slow and particularly bad at identifying and removing anti-semitic material? Yes. But I still think the real thing to hold collectives accountable for is what they promote as features.
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