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The Fine Print

July 7, 2009

Recently, I wrote about a rather odd post on SDC’s Blog for Darfur.  In my post, I criticize them for discussing religion in a way that, I think, presumes the reader is of the Judeo-Christian faith (What about your secular readers?) and for asserting that the “genocide” label is irrelevant (What were you smoking when you wrote that gem?).  For the third time (in case anyone’s keeping track), SDC has made changes to its website after SDAP criticized the content therein.  Once again, I happened to take screenshots prior to the publication of my post in case they tried to pull anything cute.  Below is the bottom of the blog post as it appeared when I wrote about it:

1And here it is as of at least this afternoon:

2As you can see, they’ve added a watertight disclaimer absolving themselves of responsibility for the content of the post.  Does this mean that the post did express the opinions of the Save Darfur Coalition for the week that it didn’t have the disclaimer?

Furthermore, they didn’t add the disclaimer just to this post, but to every single other post as well.  I find it hilarious that they’re trying to distance themselves from their own blog’s content, because it’s not like Making Sense of Darfur or something, where voices of dissent are welcome and there’s lively debate.  All the Blog for Darfur content is generated by people who work at, or are supportive of, SDC, so it’s not like someone’s gonna post something titled “SDC Sucks,” which may merit a disclaimer.  Unless, of course, they added the disclaimer because they intend to include a greater diversity of opinion in future posts.  That would be awesome!  Can I be a contributor, guys?

Additionally, think about what SDC has just done to its ability to communicate with activists. Until now, their blog was just another outlet for their messaging.  From now on, we can no longer assume that it reflects what SDC’s thinking.  So, how are they gonna communicate about breaking news or new ideas in an informal forum?  I guess they’ll have to rely on emails and press releases, which are fine but a lot less timely.  I trust they’ll figure something out.

But the real question is: What kind of advocacy organization tries to close, as opposed to open, channels through which to disseminate its messaging to the public?  Why would they want to provide even less SDC-approved information on their own website?  Seeing as how, historically, SDC has hesitated when responding to various international law and justice developments, maybe even SDC doesn’t know where it stands on some issues, so it makes sense for them to offer as few outlets for official opinions as possible.

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