Politico, please define "censored"

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

Ben Smith claims the Obama transition team has "censored" Blago questions on its news Change.gov site. Jake Tapper at ABC News pretty much makes the same claim.

What the Change.gov feature does is allow citizens to pose questions to Obama and then the online community votes on the questions, and the ones with the most votes rise to the top of the list. Anybody who is even vaguely familiar with how Digg or Daily Kos works understand the ladder concept. (i.e. Understands the Internet.)

Not so much Smith and Tapper (Smith especially) who claim Blago-related questions have been "censored" because they haven't been voted up the ladder or because they have been tagged by community members as "inappropriate." Read this comment posted under Tapper's piece:

Oh, please... Like all similar social promotion websites that do this kind of crowdsourcing, in the process of policing itself, the community has developed a relative consensus on what it wants to see, and what it doesn't want to see. You'll see similar effect on Digg, Reddit, Yahoo Buzz, and the rest of Google's Moderator service on which the Obama technology is based. It is a simple artifact that emerges from all such social communities.

Note that Smith, after claiming Blago questions were being ominously "censored," suggested the Obama team step in and basically manipulate the votes by propping them up to the top of the list:

So far, Obama's team does not seem to have stepped in to allow uncomfortable questions to rise to the top.

In other words, the Obama team has stepped back and allowed community members to pick the best questions and Smith suggests the Obama team has indirectly "censored" questions. So Smith suggests the Obama team go in and cherry-pick certain question and put them at the top of the question list? Are double standards any more obvious than that?

UPDATE: Smith responded to his onlline critics who raised all kinds of questions about his report and his use of the term "censored." Here's the response. We don't really get it. (Smith seems to suggest we all misread his original report.)

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