by Michael Bielawski
In a potential double standard, the popular local social media company Front Porch Forum is choosing favorites when running ads for political forums.
A recent ad for a forum titled “Israel, Gaza, and the Struggle for Palestine” ran earlier in the week. The forum is to take place in Burlington on Tuesday.
The ad labels the Hamas fighters who are accused of murdering women and children during the recent terror attacks in Isreal as “resistance fighters.” At least 1,300 civilians were killed according to media reports.
It states, “Early on Saturday, October 7th, Palestinian resistance fighters broke through Israel’s siege of Gaza. In response, Israel has declared total war against the people of Gaza, completely cutting off access to food, water, and electricity, while bombing the Strip and killing entire families.”
The panel will feature Wafic Faour of Vermonters for Justice in Palestine, Debra Stoleroff of Jewish Voice for Peace, and Nolan Rampy of Tempest Collective.
“They will discuss how to understand the current situation in Palestine, the 17-year siege of Gaza, and questions of resistance, colonialism, the role of Biden and US imperialism, and mass struggle,” it states.
A pattern of double standards?
However last year it was reported that an ad for the annual “Restoring our Faith Summit” was sent to Front Porch Forum was turned down.
“Front Porch Forum (FPF) is refusing to post information about the Restoring our Faith Summit, an event dedicated to engaging with Vermont communities to revitalize the role of religion in daily life, said the event organizer, the Vermont Institute for Human Flourishing (VIHF),” VDC reported in October of 2022.
That’s part of a growing list of complaints against the company. Another VDC report in 2020 detailed when Molly Jesse of Essex Junction was apparently kicked off the platform also with a vague explanation.
Jesse was trying to get an ad about an event to post but was rejected. Part of the ad read, “Like our forebears, we aim both to conserve and reform our institutions in light of enduring principles of justice. That is the task of self-governing people who know they live in an imperfect world and yet are not deterred by its challenges. We invite all citizens of good will to join us so that together we can strive for liberty and justice for all.”
The story by Guy Page continues, “Is FPF playing the politics of cancel culture? Let the reader be the judge. As noted in another story in today’s Vermont Daily, I think thin-skinned Front Porch Forum judged them not by the colorfulness of their remarks, but by the character of their content.”
Also in October of last year, FPF took criticism for apparently promoting a toxic environment in its discussions. This was part of a commentary by Gene Leon who ran for Vermont State Representative for the Washington-4 district.
“I have felt harassed and humiliated by the individuals that spread misinformation and lies regarding topics based on the reality of issues or viewpoints I raise on my website. Opinions matter but should not be hacked, assumed or changed to promote false narratives against another person or promote negative judgments.”
The website apparently refused to post information about a vaccine injury to a Vermonter. A man from St. Johnsbury reported that he “was unable to stand, walk or even do daily activities like showering, toileting, preparing meals etc. Sleep was almost non-existent.” He added that some conditions never went away.
When he tried to share his experience with FPF, he was met with much resistance.
“Only my first post to FPF expressing my concerns was actually published. All my attempts at followup posts were never published and several times FPF suspended my account for violating their mis-, dis-information protocols. That first FPF post brought a flurry of responses from some concerned community members, some of whom have been extremely supportive in my quest for answers and resolution.”
Front Porch Forum did not respond to requests for comment.
The author is a reporter for the Vermont Daily Chronicle
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