Thursday, May 18, 2023

Community Guidelines that Ignore History

Last week I got the following email from Blogger:

As you may know, our Community Guidelines ( describe the boundaries for what we allow-- and don't allow-- on Blogger. Your post titled "Mysteries of the Seventies" was flagged to us for review. This post was put behind a warning for readers because it contains sensitive content; the post is visible at Your blog readers must acknowledge the warning before being able to read the post/blog.

So let me describe what happened carefully so this post doesn't also get flagged. First a history lesson. In 1972, five men were arrested for breaking into the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C. They were found with bugging devices and cameras, attempting to wiretap the DNC offices. One of them had ties to the Committee to Re-Elect the President (CREEP), which supported Richard Nixon's re-election campaign.

Two Washington Post reporters, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, broke the story of the coverup that would eventually lead to Nixon's resignation in 1974. I highly recommend both the book and the film All the President's Men about their investigation. Woodward and Bernstein got help from a then anonymous source. The identity of the source was subject to huge speculation and remained a mystery for three decades. In 2005 Mark Felt, associate director of the FBI, outed himself as the source.

After the announcement I wrote a short post (would have been a tweet today) mentioning that while we learned the solution of one mystery from the 1970s, another remained.

So why was this post flagged as sensitive eighteen years later? Because I used the pseudonym the Washington Post reporters gave to Mark Felt, a name take from a popular adult movie at the time. 

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