Just check out Ann Althouse's reaction to Garance Franke-Ruta's rather anodyne reference to Jessica Valenti breast controversy on bloggingheads. It's at the 50 minute mark. I have no idea what the reference is but Althouse explodes, threatens to hang up and tells Garance that she is involved in character assassination. But she is happy to post the vilest attacks on my being gay and having HIV and refuses to apologize. Her defense is that she is a robust defender of free speech. Oh wait ... from Althouse's blog four years ago:
Checking in on the blog, I face up to the problem of the degradation of the comments caused by an influx of several categories of new readers. I realize I've got to be more vigilant and less tolerant, because the decline in quality is affecting our regular readers. Newcomers are welcome to participate, but I've got to uphold some standards or the comments will lose their value for everyone.
In particular, I'm not going to accept repetitious arguments, abusive language, and overblown accusations -- which seem to have become the style in the last few days. This is my place. I like debate and am ready to read criticism, but what has been going on lately has crossed the line, and I'm adopting a new, more activist form of supervision.I will delete comments that offend my standards, and I will turn off comments on posts where the conversation is played out to the point where it is attracting too many deletable posts. You're welcome to practice your free speech on your own blogs. I intend to keep a civil dialogue on mine.
Maybe I missed a post after that where she expressed her willingness not just to accept but to participate in threads that accuse an HIV-survivor of AIDS dementia because they disagree with him.