Blog purge in Vermont
If you haven't been there I recommend it to you, not only because of the great writing on a variety of topics, but also because of the threat to freedom of speech that has been unleashed on us in the past week. It's a long story, but the short version is that Green Mountain Daily founder John Odum has been blogging about the racist, neo-Confederate ties of Second Vermont Republic, a fringe group pursuing Vermont secession. They have struck back by sending out wild and unfounded press releases, specifically targeting John's work, and John's employer has responded by presenting him with an ultimatim: your political life or your job.
You can get a full rundown of these events at Green Mountain Daily, but I'll just say you should read all about it, and then think about what it means when citizen journalists are silenced because of the content of their writings.
Cathy Resmer covers the VHRC purge of GMD founder and former blogger John Odum here.
Cathy says: I'm sorry to see him go, especially in this way. He says GMD will continue without him.
Exactly right, Cathy. We feel the loss here, but we're going to keep it up.
From the extreme right (I hope she doesn't object to that description), She's Right blogger Charity Tensel also covers this story, describing the loss this way: This is a great loss for political blogging. Odum's thoughtful posts and comments kept GMD in the realm of sensible discussion. He was an anchor, a rock, keeping the blog focused on remaining relevant and holding it back from slipping into the realm of radicalism.
Philip Baruth has the same story, along with a photo of John (I'm not sure we've ever posted photos of him here.)
Philip: The Vermont blogosphere is still very much in its infancy, and it depends on a handful of sites for its signature feel. Green Mountain Daily has been, and will remain, one of those deep-anchor sites. And although others have contributed greatly, GMD is John Odum's brain child, and his love child, and its success is in large part his success.
We also have this link from Reason and Brimstone.
If you're a regular reader of these pages you know about this story, but it's obvious now that this decision is going beyond the world of Green Mountain Daily.
When you read about attacks on journalism, and particular citizen journalism of the kind we practice here, you don't necessarily think about relatively enlightened places like Vermont. Now we know that we cannot afford to be complacent.
Thank you all for your support.