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Monday, March 15, 2021

You will NOT talk back

The media is systematically eliminating the ability to comment on their relentless propaganda:

As of Feb. 1, we are removing comments from most of Inquirer.com. Comments will still be available on Sports stories and our Inquirer Live events, and there will be other ways for people to engage with our journalism and our journalists, including our letters section, social media channels and other features that our readers have become accustomed to, as well as new capabilities that we’re developing.

Commenting on Inquirer.com was long ago hijacked by a small group of trolls who traffic in racism, misogyny, and homophobia. This group comprises a tiny fraction of the Inquirer.com audience. But its impact is disproportionate and enduring.

It’s not just Inquirer staff who are disaffected by the comments on many stories. We routinely hear from members of our community that the comments are alienating and detract from the journalism we publish.

Only about 2 percent of Inquirer.com visitors read comments, and an even smaller percentage post them. Most of our readers will not miss the comments.

For more than a decade, we’ve tried to improve the commenting climate on our sites. The goal has been to create a forum for a civil, open exchange of ideas where readers could offer relevant feedback and criticism of our work.

Over the years, we’ve invested in several methods to try and accomplish this. None of it has worked. The comments at the bottom of far too many Inquirer.com stories are toxic, and this has accelerated due to the mounting extremism and election denialism polluting the national discourse. You deserve better than that.

What's telling about this is that large media organizations like the Inquirer could easily institute a system that would prevent trolling. For example, they could permit only actual subscribers to the physical newspaper to comment, just to suggest one of many possible solutions. Their real objection, of course, was their inability to control the comment narrative.

This isn't to say that the constant trolling and hasbara isn't a legitimate problem. It is a problem, though an easily solvable one. But the media has never been interested in anyone actually being able to talk back to them.

Regardless, this won't affect their traffic at all. Commenters vastly overestimate their own significance, as they tend to make up less than one percent of the readership of any given Internet site. That's why I find it amusing whenever I receive an email informing me that I should be concerned that some would-be commenter finds it impossible to leave his very important opinions here for our edification.

Labels: ,

77 Comments:

Blogger Piqua Bear March 15, 2021 10:05 AM  

If so few people read or engage in the comment section then why do they have to remove it? Seems like it should be fairly easy to moderate.

Blogger Harambe March 15, 2021 10:07 AM  

I used to work for an online media publisher. Or more accurately: the online business side of a very large newspaper conglomerate. It's so weird seeing almost all publications using the "too many trolls" excuse in $CURRENT_YEAR because back then we literally had an opinions/blog section called "God vs Science" where journalists would fan the flames to get people commenting so we could get page impressions to sell ad space against. They would even get involved in the comments section under various pseudonyms.

Blogger pyrrhus March 15, 2021 10:37 AM  

The fact of the matter is that the comments at three sites I used to frequent, National Review, Taki's and American Thinker, were generally far superior to the articles themselves and many people merely skimmed the articles, if that, before going to the comments....The publishers are aware of that, of course, and it puts their noses out of joint...

Blogger Daniel March 15, 2021 10:37 AM  

That's a cool trick: bothering the media and its readers so much with insignificant irrelevance.

Blogger SoylentGreen March 15, 2021 10:42 AM  

I frequently gain more lucidity and diversity from the comments than from the original article. When a blog or website removes the ability to comment, then they are removing my ability to read them. As a result, I stop reading those articles that outlaw reflection and comment. For example, I no longer read American Thinker whereas I used to visit that site 5 to 10 times a day. In their case, the original posts were seldom worth the words despite being incredibly good topics. The comments however were worth the frequent visits. Too bad.

Blogger DrivingDissent March 15, 2021 10:42 AM  

The cost of compliance is apathy. I don't imagine they have baked this variable into their algorithms, it's to intangible to fleeting. Moral is everything though it brings down Empires and calls forth new ones from the dust of the old.

It's little wonder they are choosing to ignore the little people, the protestations if the peasantry remind those on high of how far they will fall when the tower comes down ..

Blogger CoffeeGroundsBear March 15, 2021 10:43 AM  

“...it’s impact is disproportionate and enduring”.
*sniff, sniff*
I think I smell a weakness that can be exploited.

Blogger Doom March 15, 2021 10:50 AM  

I dump any blogger or other which doesn't allow simple commenting. Though I don't think big media needs my patronage any more than big biz needs my dollars, or big government needs my vote.

I have been deselected. So be it. That is mutual.

Blogger GammaCatch March 15, 2021 10:51 AM  

I had one of the oldest accounts on GFAQS. Became more important over the years as computer games were one of the last places you could go not infected by Leftists. Of course, that changed very slowly and then very quickly. Every board became converged. Started from the top, and then the usual funded trolls started to leak in. Before I knew it, people were being banned for just about anything, including myself in the end. They even wiped all my guides and media uploads. And this was at it's peak in 2012. Like all Zombies of the Converged, they ran off 90% of the users/contributors and are still functioning sans a real community. Another Leftist hangout with minimal traffic. Heck, Yahoo removed their entire comments section and does just fine. Even Glenn Beck shut up his audience.

They do not need us. Even if their traffic falls, if they are part of the system, they are propped up. They have run us off every platform, real and virtual.

Blogger JayD March 15, 2021 10:55 AM  

Unless Vox writes the article, I skip to the comments.

Blogger shadohand (akuma sock account# 7373636 ...crazy only responds to crazy) March 15, 2021 10:57 AM  

Didnt yall get the Memo? Talking back means you have Oppositional Defiant Disorder. The First Amendment only applies to Sub-Avg Unreasonably Imprudent Qualified Professionals.

Blogger Harambe March 15, 2021 10:58 AM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Dole March 15, 2021 10:59 AM  

Undoubtedly, this has more to do with their hate for facts, than concern about trolls.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd March 15, 2021 11:00 AM  

I rarely read sites that don't allow comments. Not sure if those sites are worthless because they don't allow comments, or don't allow comments because they're worthless.

Blogger George D. March 15, 2021 11:00 AM  

Translation:

We don't have the trollpower to hijack narrative anymore, so we are removing the illusion of feedback.

Anything but kind regards,
The Inquirer

Blogger inglorious March 15, 2021 11:01 AM  

And further down in that page is another article titled "The Inquirer introduces new policy against use of mug shots". If you read into that article it says the reason is because of the fact that more mugshots are of people of color and Latinx so it's systemic racism to keep showing them. I guess they think by not showing mugshots then it's not really POC or Latinx people committing the crimes.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 March 15, 2021 11:02 AM  

I comment here. So I'm important!!!

Blogger Newscaper312 March 15, 2021 11:16 AM  

I find myself discounting any news site that has dropped comments. Or only allows comments w FB etc and a presumed real identity.

Blogger GeronL March 15, 2021 11:24 AM  

Yahoo does just fine? I haven't read an article there in ages.

Blogger TontoBubbaGoldstein March 15, 2021 11:26 AM  

Only about 2 percent of Inquirer.com visitors read comments...

Malarky!!

Blogger A.D. March 15, 2021 11:29 AM  

Why even have a comments section?! You expend a curious amount of effort inducing in your readers the notion that their feedback is neither desired nor relevant.

Blogger Eduardo March 15, 2021 11:33 AM  

The Media is the Big Mother.

Mother speaks you OBEY.


Blogger Lazarus March 15, 2021 11:43 AM  

Citizens should be seen and not heard.

Blogger Br'er Shaygetz March 15, 2021 11:50 AM  

Must...be...able...to...brain vomit... wherever...I...can....

Blogger Avalanche March 15, 2021 12:01 PM  

@5 "the original posts were seldom worth the words despite being incredibly good topics. The comments however were worth the frequent visits"

How amazingly LUCKY we-all are, that both our host and his blog posts are incredibly good, AND the tightly moderated comments section is nearly incredibly good!

Blogger Teleport me off this rock March 15, 2021 12:03 PM  

I notice that Amazon has eliminated replies to reviews, with little or no fanfare. They're probably racking their tiny lizard brains to find a way to sell customers on removing written reviews completely and just going with the easily gamed star system. Probably not a hard sell in the end.

Blogger Karen took the Kids March 15, 2021 12:27 PM  

One of the reasons things like this tend to happen is that for the small minority of people that post something edgy, there's an even smaller minority of normies who stumble across a sprinkle of red pill in these sections.

That can't be allowed to happen.

Blogger Seeingsights March 15, 2021 12:30 PM  

Sometimes the comments on news articles are hilarious.
A good place for funny comments on the news is Zero Hedge.
The Philadelphia Inquirer’s removal of the ability to comment will be a net negative for them—they are removing a source of entertainment.

Blogger Doktor Jeep March 15, 2021 12:32 PM  

If there was no place to vent in cyberspace, it would amount to more action in meatspace. Long have I suspected, paranoically, that the allowance of unfettered commentary on the internet was a sop.
Possibly the election of DJT became a risk they want to remove, or too many of their NPCs were getting reprogrammed, if at all possible? I do not know.
Considering what they get away with now, maybe they dont feel a need to let people vent since the people ain't gonna do shit anyway.

It's a real troll war though, and shills too. Are thev"racistsvand homophobes" left wing shills working to get comments shut down? Or are they normal opinions that SJWs at the controls consider problematic? Are the people doing the complaining about feeling uncomfortable the real trolls filing false complaints?

I think the solution of subscription is probably the best. It puts trolls and shills in a box, so to speak. That is, they already lost or are in a loser position because they have to pay for trolling and shilling.

Goes to show how worthless speech is when its free. In the late stage though, free speech has only been free for those whose speech fits the narrative. For everybody else it could cost everything. And those on the side of everybody else have every right to turn a jaundiced eye towards any defenses of "free speech", considering that all it ever amounted to was destruction of freedom and the civilization that made it important.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash March 15, 2021 12:36 PM  

...some would-be commenter finds it impossible to leave his very important opinions here for our edification.
If your post doesn't make it through moderation, it's because it's stupid, and also because you suck and should stop talking.

All you "if I can't comment I won't visit the site' virtue signallers should bear in mind that Vox has suspended the comment section in the past, and reserves the right to do it again, permanently. The advantage of not deriving his income from VP is that when we get too annoying, he can make us shut up.

Blogger lowercaseb March 15, 2021 12:43 PM  

Snidely Whiplash wrote:If your post doesn't make it through moderation, it's because it's stupid, and also because you suck and should stop talking.I want this framed and mounted on my office wall. A warning...yes, but also as a Memento Mori.

Blogger C March 15, 2021 12:45 PM  

SoylentGreen wrote:I frequently gain more lucidity and diversity from the comments than from the original article.

Bingo. As much of an irritant as they are sometimes, the general disagreers and outright gammas make VP all the richer.

Blogger English Tom March 15, 2021 12:48 PM  

Just dont engage in election denialism and you should be ok!

Blogger English Tom March 15, 2021 12:49 PM  

But if they stop people commenting on the election isn't that denialism also?

Blogger wahr01 March 15, 2021 12:54 PM  

"Commenting on Inquirer.com was long ago hijacked by a small group of trolls who traffic in racism, misogyny, and homophobia"

Ah, the tried and true journalism-speak for "well-sourced facts that are inconvenient to our narrative".

I remember when the NYT put out an almost word-for-word statement when they restricted their comment sections to right-think years ago.

Blogger Jpc March 15, 2021 12:56 PM  

But the media has never been interested in anyone actually being able to talk back to.

Nailed it right there Vox

Blogger VD March 15, 2021 1:01 PM  

Why even have a comments section?! You expend a curious amount of effort inducing in your readers the notion that their feedback is neither desired nor relevant.

Because some of my early readers requested it. I have never cared much about it one way or the other. So, I permit them as a courtesy to readers who enjoy them so long as they are not too much of an annoyance to me. Which, of course, is why the moderators are quick to ban annoying people. I'm not against comments, I simply don't think about them.

It's good for feedback, of course, but now we've got SG, which is more private.

Blogger 7916 March 15, 2021 1:18 PM  

@30 The accountability to the SDL for the content of a comment is one of the enjoyable aspects of commenting here.

Blogger Dan in Georgia March 15, 2021 1:39 PM  

"Commenting on Inquirer.com was long ago hijacked by a small group of trolls who traffic in racism, misogyny, and homophobia"

Oh, you mean Philadelphians? The people who throw snowballs at Santa Claus at Eagles games? What a bunch of pansies. Go back to Cambridge.

Blogger DonReynolds March 15, 2021 1:44 PM  

I don't know about now, but in the past journalists were trained (essentially) for the newspaper business. Which was fine and good, since that is where so many of them ended up working. But the newspaper did not have a Comments section. The closest thing they had was Letters To The Editor....and there was no obligation to print a Letter to the Editor. It usually got tossed in the round file and ignored. Fan mail was usually welcome and critics need not apply.

The only place that might pass as a forum in the newspaper was the Classified Ads. Even then, not all ads would be accepted. Meetings by politically incorrect organizations may not be announced in the newspaper and the newspaper was mighty picky over which community concerns they were willing to mention or promote in the newspaper.

So, what has changed? Websites have no difficulty with deleting or refusing to publish comments or even banning individuals. They hold the chalk and they own the blackboard. They completely control the narrative and the discussion about that narrative and can edit any comments and editorialize at will. Have they simply lost interest?

Blogger Troy Lee Messer March 15, 2021 1:49 PM  

I think it is pretty cool that I get the privilege of interacting with my generation's Tolkien.

Blogger Steve Canyon March 15, 2021 1:53 PM  

If the Inquirer and the rest of their ilk desire to continue to fiddle their way into irrelevancy, who am I to interfere with them?

My silent generation parents discontinued their newspaper subscription of something on the order of 40 years a couple years back. Their peers are dying off. The only demographic left that bothers with them are fishermen who use them to wrap their catch. The half the population they've continuously insulted and marginalized for the past 30 years either left and ignore them completely or use them as a source of lulz.

Like every other spinster, the gray old lady and her sisters in press are going to wind up irrelevant and ignored by everyone.

Blogger Silly but True March 15, 2021 1:56 PM  

Good times. This categorically destroyed multiple prosecutions by and the entire career of US Atty Jim Letton when his own office — as well as DoJ HQ — was trolling New Orleans Times-Picayune.

It even forced dismissal of sentences of the Danziger Bridge shooters — a group of cops who opened up on Katrina evacuees then tried to cover it up.
https://www.nola.com/news/crime_police/article_5ccaa3b2-ef6c-5db9-9c7c-45f6cca89e88.html

In this case, it wasn’t page views but bona fide city-wide jury manipulation by the Department of Justice.

Blogger Unknown March 15, 2021 2:04 PM  

VD, my name is Michael Gilson De Lemos, called MG. I'm the curator of the Libertarian International and prime developer of current world Libertarianism.

Thank you for this article. I read your blog and use its resources regularly. Many of your insights are, in my opinion, at another level. I find many of the comments enlightening and heartfelt. Many here share key personal experiences or professional perspectives increasingly hard to obtain elsewhere. I'm a very busy man. I have a family to shepherd, pray and field many issues and inquiries daily, evangelize the idea to every nation that US Glory has just begun, and work to block its enemies. I make time daily, however, for not only prayer for the salvation of all our souls, and study of noble and holy persons, but the stimulus of your thought-provoking wisdom and alerts on very real problems brought up from your readers. It is time well-spent.

We don't agree on everything, but if we did, one of us would be superfluous. You require no comments from me. My rule is never annoy Rembrandt at work.

I will say: Please keep up that good work. Plus comments section. Inquirer at alia seem determined to give you a monopoly there. Why deny them? You can quote me.

Thank you for your many contributions. I suspect the best is yet to come.

Blogger Macs March 15, 2021 2:16 PM  

I miss the days when I could go from headline to comments, scan them for tidbits and discussion of the buried lead, and then decide if the article was worth reading.

Blogger A.D. March 15, 2021 2:17 PM  

Fair enough.

Blogger A.D. March 15, 2021 2:19 PM  

Only if the moderator is highly intelligent, enlightened, and honest.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd March 15, 2021 2:22 PM  

Vox, I still enjoy the comment section here. The moderators keep the S/N very good. Thank you, to you and to them.

Blogger Macs March 15, 2021 2:28 PM  

They should just develope a filter that makes a criminals look White and apply it to the photos.

Blogger The Homeless IT Guy March 15, 2021 2:32 PM  

Some of my best rhetoric crop grows from seeds I gather reading the comments here. I actually glean quite a bit from the comments on this blog . There are factions like any time people get together. More wheat than chaff in the comments here

Blogger Gareth Cooke March 15, 2021 2:48 PM  

https://thepostmillennial.com/progressive-blogger-suggests-bill-burrs-wife-may-be-a-minority-sex-servant

Blogger Matteo March 15, 2021 3:13 PM  

I think in the long run, giving non-leftists no reason to fritter away valuable time participating in the retarded fog that is social media will prove to be an own goal for the left.

Blogger lynnjynh9315 March 15, 2021 3:21 PM  

They're building their wall 10 feet taller!!

Blogger Ominous Cowherd March 15, 2021 3:33 PM  

Stickwick's comments on the last laugh post are an example of why comments here can be valuable. Vox has some knowledgeable readers, and they are worth reading, too.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd March 15, 2021 3:36 PM  

The World War II Fanatic wrote:https://thepostmillennial.com/progressive-blogger-suggests-bill-burrs-wife-may-be-a-minority-sex-servant
Wonder whether the pathology behind that is ``all hetero-sex is rape,'' or ``all minorities are so inferior that we could only consider them as sex toys.''

Blogger FacelessBro March 15, 2021 3:45 PM  

This coming from a natural lurker, there's very few places I would like to actually engage with the host and other visitors. Vox Popoli is one of those places.

Blogger Newscaper312 March 15, 2021 4:00 PM  

@Macs
You're right, there's some real utility, it's not just about shooting the shit or arguing.

Blogger Chuck March 15, 2021 4:03 PM  

Half the ones with comments will delete what they don't like and never signal that they did.

Blogger eclecticmn March 15, 2021 4:32 PM  

American Thinker eliminated comments for some reason but they direct you the American Thinker Forum at MeWe where comments are allowed. I get nothing from most comments here but the exceptions are well worth skimming through the rest.

Blogger PH March 15, 2021 4:49 PM  

For the past few years the best thing about the Inqy was the comments which were frequently critical of the extreme left bias in the articles.
The removal of the comments occurred at the same time as they announced they wanted to be an "actively anti-racist news organization".

Blogger SacrificialLamb March 15, 2021 5:30 PM  

30. Snidely Whiplash

All you "if I can't comment I won't visit the site' virtue signallers should bear in mind that Vox has suspended the comment section in the past, and reserves the right to do it again, permanently. The advantage of not deriving his income from VP is that when we get too annoying, he can make us shut up.


Sure. And that's Vox's prerogative.

But let's be honest here. Most sites that shut down the comments section are doing so in order to protect their oh so precious Promethean "narrative".

I have to weed through an unbelievable volume of clutter online, in order to figure out which sites are controlled opposition...and which are not. Sometimes the comment sections of a site makes figuring this out faster and easier for me, and I also often acquire a lot of very useful information from comment sections on web sites. The comment section on this blog is useful here. At least it is, for me.

If Vox shut the comment section down, I would still read what he has to say.....because his observations already have value to me. And I do have the luxury of bringing up a topic on SocialGalactic, if I really need to. I'm grateful that Vox keeps the comment section open here, and I'm relieved that he keeps this place so well-moderated.

However, 99% of the time, I assume (by default) that a website without a comments section is a controlled oppositional gatekeeper site....which usually causes me to mentally check out and ignore it, thus inspiring apathy. But that's just me. I'm learning the hard way that not everyone thinks the way I think, or comes to the same conclusions that I do. As I said before though, I'm grateful that Vox kept the comment section open here for us as a courtesy. It's appreciated.

Blogger Unknown March 15, 2021 5:33 PM  

It's as simple as not being permitted to talk about the problems of society, symptoms or cause because the problems of society are the desired outcome.

Anyone talking about the problems realistically would of course be talking next about solutions, and there's nothing more dangerous to the 'collective' than a solution.

Blogger Gingas March 15, 2021 5:46 PM  

@GammaCatch

Yahoo used to have swarms of conservative commenters who were relentless in their criticism of the narrative. Any normies who decide to regularly read the comments section on political articles will eventually become red-pilled. Now that Yahoo has disabled their comments section, normies won't face any exposure to Joe Biden's peccadilloes.

Blogger One of Us March 15, 2021 6:41 PM  

I've recently read many of the comments at the Inquirer.com, and I have to say they were awesome - a handful of individuals with their red pills at the ready and just lobbing truth bombs at the Narrative. And it was encouraging to see how many of these "racist" and "sexist" and "homophobic" comments were just honest people expressing a common-sense pushback and getting hearty approval from the other readers. It's not surprising that the SJWs at the Inquirer wanted to shut it down quick - it was becoming way too obvious that most of their readers (at least the ones who comment/read comments) aren't buying in to their woke narrative. For example, there was one very serious and sober article about all the serious and terrible racism black people face from the medical community, like when a doctor prescribed a healthier diet to a black patient with diabetes, and the black patient felt the doctor was being racist because much of the healthy food was too expensive for the patient to afford - as if it was the doctor's job to solve that problem! Or the article that talked about what a racism problem the locals had because they weren't all immediately out in the streets, marching with and supporting everything BLM told them to. So it was great to see the vast majority of the commenters giving them the business.

Blogger pyrrhus March 15, 2021 7:13 PM  

Only 2% read the comments?? Complete horse hockey....

Blogger Matt Harris March 15, 2021 7:29 PM  

The biggest issue isn't that people comment. The issue is people then expect them to listen.

Blogger tublecane March 15, 2021 8:09 PM  

Everyone knows that if it’s actually just a small group of trolls they can be easily moderated.

Everyone also knows comment sections are more interesting than articles 99% of the time.

Everyone also also knows people with the ability to moderate if they do choose and nevertheless shit down comments have something to hide.

Everyone knows these things.

Blogger My Comment March 15, 2021 8:26 PM  

Studies a few years back found that commenters have a major influence on readers sometimes more than the actual article. Given all the wrong think in comments that caused the mainstream media to start ending their comment sections.

Blogger SonyAD March 15, 2021 8:30 PM  

Just god banned from a Disqus comment section (or Disqus itself?) for what I can only assume to be truth bomb trolling about not-vaccines. Interesting.

Blogger eclecticmn March 15, 2021 8:53 PM  

It is a little bit like why liberal talk radio never worked. What liberal talk show hosts say does not stand up to even cursory questioning. When questioned they mostly scream and yell. Most liberal discourse consists of name calling. Even liberals grow tired of hearing others called Nazis and racists even when they agree. In the US AM radio stations are dirt cheap, and to produce a talk show you don't need to own a station. You only need to convince a station to air the show that you produced. They only need an audience large enough to sell advertising.

OK. Not every liberal is like that. Michael Hudson is great. Matt Taibbi, Glenn Glreenwald, Max Blumenthal, Aaron Mate and others can be interesting as well. Then again they are often censored by liberals.

Blogger Glaivester March 15, 2021 9:00 PM  

You know, with the Dissenter browser people can still comment on the pages of those websites (click on the D to the right of the address bar), but only other Dissenter users can see the comments.

Blogger Nostromo March 15, 2021 9:12 PM  

Well played, sir! Bravo! You win the interwebs today.

Blogger rcocean March 15, 2021 9:16 PM  

Comments can provide a useful counterpoint to Left-wing propaganda or on a grifter pretend conservative site like National Review. Here, at Vox Day, they're a mixed bag. Its hilarious how some commenters think we're coming here to read their "Pearls of wisdom". We're not. Don't like it here - leave. You won't be missed.

Blogger VFM #7634 March 15, 2021 10:38 PM  

I rarely read sites that don't allow comments. Not sure if those sites are worthless because they don't allow comments, or don't allow comments because they're worthless.

I'd go with the latter, since the more a site gets taken over by SJWs, the more likely they are to ban comments. It's an indicator as to how converged the website is.

After all, being overrun with "right-wing trolls" and "Russian bots" is bad for woke morale and gives them badfeelz.

Blogger Living in a Fallen World March 16, 2021 5:57 AM  

"Comments don't matter cause people don't read them. Also, you can't make comments cause they're too toxic and distracting."

1. Comments do matter.
2. That's why they get removed.
3. Everyone's full of shit.

Blogger wgmeisheid March 16, 2021 10:56 AM  

Interesting read on how this happened...
https://bayourenaissanceman.blogspot.com/2021/03/the-revolutionary-communist-takeover-of.html

Blogger Darren March 18, 2021 10:29 AM  

Gab's *Dissenter.com* (extension, and later browser with it built in) -- created years ago in response to this very trend.

Whicj makes me wonder how is inquirer.com so late to the censorship game?

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