"Editing Reality With Both Hands … "

Josh Wright —  7 March 2009

The post title is stolen from a commenter (Unit) at this post over at Austrian Economists.  Delong’s comment editing practices (the selective editing even more so than the deleting of comments with opposing points of view) are disturbing to say the least.  Here’s an excerpt from the post:

See this post of DeLong’s that is a “reply” to an earlier Bob Murphy post about Hoover and “liquidationism”.  First, DeLong cuts off the part of Murphy’s post where he provides the evidence that Hoover rejected that view and that it did not dominate his administration.  Brutally dishonest.  Bob replies in the comments, and I follow up.  DeLong then truncates the part of MY comment where I point to Larry White’s JMCB paper that demonstrated that even MELLON was not a “liquidationist” and neither were the Austrians.  DeLong can wave his hands all he wants, but it doesn’t make him right on this one.


UPDATE: From the Underbelly comes sensible advice:

Josh Wright and Steve Horowitz (and commentators) are bent out of shape with Brad DeLong for deleting (or editing) comments. I suspect they’ve got a point; I’ve been deleted a few times over the years. Couple of times I figured it was a judgment call, and Brad was probably right. Couple of times, it seemed to me more like outright thought control but I figured it was his blog and not a big deal.

But Josh and Steve and I are not the only ones I’ve heard make this point. And just in general–well, put it this way: DeLong’s is a great blog. it almost always in the top ten in my aggregator Trendline (right now it is third place in number, first in content). Unfailingly interesting, challenging and thought-provoking.

But let’s face it, Brad is a rigid guy. His ferocious attacks on those with whom he disagrees are legend. But also self-defeating. I mean, discretion, baby! It is one thing to expose the bankrupt pretentions of the Washington Post Ombudsperson. And beating up on George Will is always the Lord’d work. But to come out with guns blazing against every ink-stained mediocrity who has a bad day–after a while, it takes on the unmistakable aroma of the Boy Who Cried Wolf.

So, Brad, baby! This is an intervention! This is a friend speaking! Lighten up! You’ve got a perfect right (perhaps an obligation) to delete the vicious, the vulgar and the hollow. But interesting people who disagree with you: look, just stop it! You’ll enhance your street cred and make an already=riveting weblog even more indispensable than it already is.