When Jay of Stop the ACLU de-linked Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit, some segments of the blogosphere got into a tizzy and Jay cannot understand what the big deal is. After all, it is his blogroll. Neither can I, especially when I think about my own blogroll being… well, mine.
I originally wrote about this controversy in a September 1 blogpost entitled Stop The ACLU vs. Instapundit: Justifiable De-linking or Pettiness Writ Large? I left a comment and trackback for Jay so that he could have the opportunity to respond (I could not do the same for Mr. Reynolds, however, because he does not offer comments or trackbacks on his blog site) with corrections or clarifications.
In a comment under that blogpost, Jay wrote, “Perhaps I should have just quitely delinked him…I mean, I’m feeling the backlash. INDC [Journal] and [The] Volokh [Conspiracy] are asking me to delink them too.”
Although The folks over at INDC Journal and The Volokh Conspiracy agree with Mr. Reynolds’ position in this matter (and apparently on several other issues), Jay seemed disappointed by their requests to be de-linked, “The difference between those sites however is that they provide a forum of debate. Comments. Glenn doesn’t even offer trackbacks.”
Describing the fallout, Jay wrote, “However, I announced it. But I thought I would be announcing it to my thousand or so readers I get a day…not the entire blogosphere. He decided to link to it, and suprisingly sent me a lot of haters, and a handful of supporters. So I gained from it, since the fact is that I didn’t lose any supporters at all over it. It really caused more of controversy than I expected.”
Jay, who regularly invites people whose viewpoints are diametrically opposed to those of Stop The ACLU (including yours truly) to comment on Stop The ACLU’s blog also wrote, “I offer my comment section to all, including Glenn. So he can come to MY site and debate me if he wants. I provide a place of debate…he only ignores emails.”
In a September 1 blogpost entitled, Instapundit Plays The Victim, Jay explains why he did not care for Mr. Reynolds’ assessment of a book that he probably did not actually read (the book in question was Alan Sears’ and Craig Osten’s, The ACLU Vs. America: Exposing the Agenda to Redefine Moral Values), “So he just got it in the mail, and it is already a hatchet job. You can pretty much see that he is accusing Alan Sears of bias in the book, but how can he conclude this if he just got the book in the mail. He couldn’t.”
Jay concluded his blogpost with a clarification of his position and a challenge to Mr. Reynolds, “I don’t have a problem with you working with the ACLU because they do ’some good.’ While you are there see if you can reform their position on the second amendment. What I have a problem with is smearing someone’s books without sufficient proof to back up your claims. Anyway, I’m offering you an opportunity to back your claims up, right here in my comments…since you don’t have any. That is if you don’t think you are too important to stoop to the level of using a comment section.”
Thus far, there are 7 comments under Jay’s September 1 blogpost and none of them are from Mr. Reynolds. Stop The ACLU’s “Blogs Not Linking To Instapundit” blogroll/list contains the names of 49 blogs.
What this controversy should demonstrate to the people on both sides of it (personally, I am on the side of our civil rights, believing that Mr. Reynolds had every right to assert that “demonizing the ACLU is a bit silly” and that Jay had every right to de-link him just for that, even though Jay’s real problem with Mr. Reynolds was that he criticized a book that he apparently did not read) is that all of us bloggers have the right to make our own policies, not only for linking/de-linking, but also for trackbacks, comments, what sort of advertising (if any) we will allow, and all of the other blogstuff that might occur in our respective little — and not-so-little — corners of cyberspace. And if others have a problem with our individual rules and regulations, they are free to flame, de-link and go elsewhere.