The Mirror

Atlantic Editor Lays Down The Law About His Facebook Page


Betsy Rothstein Gossip blogger
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As of late, we’ve seen a wave of political figures getting raked over the coals for their political stances. The New Yorker‘s Editor David Remnick disinvited Ex-White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon (alternatively, “Sloppy Steve,” “Darth Vader,” or “Satan”) from the New Yorker Festival when a few Hollywood stars and journalists lost their minds and either complained or threatened not to attend.

Forget about journalism. The riff raff was just too loud for The New Yorker. 

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) got booed on stage at an Atlantic Festival. If anyone hasn’t watched him on CNN, he says he doesn’t “give a shit.” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and his wife, Heidi, got shouted out of an upscale Washington restaurant by anti-Brett Kavanaugh protesters. He hired a mean bodyguard.

Finally, The Atlantic Magazine’s editor-at-large Steve Clemons is pushing back and putting the concept of civility into his own hands.

At least on his Facebook page, which affects 1,088 people.

Clemons, a longtime Washington journalist who has moderated all sorts of events around town, including one called Uncomfortable Conversations, is done moderating the “friends” who apparently argue viciously on his Facebook page. Fuck it. (Oh, excuse me.) If they can’t behave in a relatively civil manner — especially with people whose beliefs they find hideous —  they’re out. Clemons is laying down ground rules.

I love the passion that many of my friends here have for the consequential issues of the day. I just want to make clear to all who post on ‘my’ Facebook page that I have a diverse group of friends — diverse in every way, end to end, gender-wise, racially, geographically, income-wise, and politically. I insist that folks be respectful of and to one another on this site.

I’m not going to litigate conflicts. I don’t have the time or patience. I’ll just delete folks, step one — and block, step two.

You will read or see ideas and issues that sometimes make you uncomfortable — and that will be the case if you are liberal/progressive, or right/conservative. At events around the world, for The Atlantic as well as other organizations, I occasionally moderate sessions titled “Uncomfortable conversations.” Those are usually the most interesting!

Some of you have privately attacked me for inviting Senator Lindsey Graham and KellyAnne Conway to the Atlantic Festival. Just to be clear, I’ll interview anyone. Having someone on the Atlantic stage is not an endorsement of his or her views — it is an editorial conversation. There are lots of groups that advocate one way or another. I and we (I think) advocate for learning, consequential encounters, hearing alternative views, and the like.

I get your passion, but you don’t get to impose it on me or others here. I truly admire people who are scrambling politically and in all they do to make this country and world better. But this is a zone where all sides get to play and express themselves. State your views as you like — but no ad hominem attacks on others who post here.

Appreciate you hearing me out and reading this — and as I said, these are my rules, not up for debate.

Thanks all — and keep up the interesting conversations. And bye bye to those of you I just kicked off the island.