Originally published in the Mad River Union on August 24th, 2022
Did you know the Lost Coast Outpost deletes comments of people they disagree with?
This last week they deleted comments from several of my supporters, and then when I asked them why they did it, they deleted my comments and banned me from making further comments.
This first came to my attention last week when a long time supporter of mine, a long time Democrat and progressive, told me she made a comment in support of me and it was quickly removed. Her account was also banned. She emailed Hank Sims, the editor of the Lost Coast Outpost, asking for an explanation and she received no response. I then made my own comment on the LoCo website inquiring about it. The moderator “Angie C” replied the person was a “right wing troll” and thats why she banned her. Shortly after that my inquiry was removed, as well as 90% of the comments I hade made and questions I had answered. This significantly changed the context of the extensive conversation that had been transpiring. I emailed Hank Sims, the editor, and received no response.
Just yesterday a supporter emailed me with a screen capture of a comment she made asking why comments were getting deleted. Within minutes, her comment was removed by the same moderator calling themselves “Angie C”, and the supporters account was banned.
After looking through the other comments throughout Lost Coast Outpost’s articles, it’s apparent that Angie C spends everyday expressing strong opinions and steering conversations. Does it make sense that a person in charge of moderating conversations is also allowed to express extreme bias on the same forum she’s policing?
I’ve been talking with folks about this for the last week and apparently Lost Coast Outpost does this all the time and has done it for years. I’m still in disbelief that a news outlet so many Humboldt residents turn to, to stay informed, would take such unethical measures to manipulate public opinion.
I think a lot of us want to believe our local media is fair and reasonably balanced but the evidence tells a different story.
The comments sections on any media website tend to be a free-for-all where anyone can use a pseuodnym to say horrible things they would never say in public. Often these comments sections are highly curated to support a certain agenda.
This is a cautionary tell to affirm the age old adage, “Don’t believe everything you read.” It’s on all of us to go beyond the headlines and natural human bias, and to judge the actual events ourselves. We must take the time to ask people involved directly for their perspectives and watch public meetings ourselves to get a true sense of what occurred.
If you have a similar story, please share them with me!