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Christian Science Monitor Attempts to Silence Critics

The Christian Science Monitor posted a scathing attack on the recent ruling calling poker a game of skill just a couple of weeks ago, and the response they received in the comments section of the article has brought about a policy change at the longstanding magazine. In a recent post the Christian Science Monitor has announced it will be limiting comments to articles where the author agrees to allow them –in the words of CSM “Comments will be the exception now, not the default option.”

I’m hoping that the impetus of this policy change was the severe criticism the outlet received for its non-factual article on online poker, where 100% of the comments were critical of the stance the magazine was taking and not a single comment was posted backing up the views of CSM. As Rich Muny of the PPA stated on his Facebook page:

Exactly two weeks after angry poker players and supporters owned their comment section and effectively proved that their readership does not wish to ban online poker (as not one replied in opposition to pro-poker comments), the Christian Science Monitor announced they are doing away with their comment section as a regular feature!!!”

The article in question spawned 92 comments, many from poker players and poker advocates, denouncing the lack of fact-checking and dishonest assertions in the article. I wrote a rebuttal to the article the following day at another online site, pointing out the many loose facts and inconsistencies in the CSM article, and many others across the Internet did the same. In the first comment on the CSM article, Rich Muny (he really gets around!) posted:

Poker is an honorable game that we are proud to play. I know I don’t need big government nanny-staters to use force of government to compel me to behave in a manner they believe is best for me. As Rep. Barton (R-TX), sponsor of HR 2366, the Online Poker Act, says, “if you don’t want to play poker online for money, you don’t have to!”

Even if the poker community did cause the change it’s still not the greatest outcome, as CSM has decided to censor dissent instead of allowing an open-dialogue on controversial topics. While it feels good that the CSM has had to take such a drastic step to insure the opposition’s voice is silenced, in the long-run it’s hard to call this a “win” since we will now be unable to directly contradict the CSM claims that are likely to be fired-off in the future.

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