Curses, rants and insurrection doesn’t solve problems

By Gene Hall

The views expressed here are entirely my own. We recently ran a video on our Texas Farm Bureau social media spaces featuring an ongoing legal fight. We’d like to help prevent the federal Bureau of Land Management from seizing private land along the Texas/Oklahoma border. Some people responded in an angry way that was nothing short of scary.

Thousands of folks have watched our videos before, but nothing like this. We passed 2 million views in less than a week. When, in the interest of safety and common sense, we took the post down, it had been shared more than 36,000 times on Facebook alone. Some of the comments were very disappointing—far beyond conservative and liberal ideology. It crossed over into something ugly. I’m responsible for content on Farm Bureau’s spaces, and I feel compelled to review what we are about here.

We support free speech, but we will not allow comments advocating hurting people or overthrowing the government. We will delete that and most likely ban the person who posted it. There is language we simply will not permit. I’d like to think that in a few years, my granddaughter could use this content for a school paper. I don’t want her to acquire an extensive “street language” vocabulary at age 8. We won’t put up with a lot of trolling either. It’s not nice to hijack every conversation.

It is my view, reflected in Farm Bureau policy, that some of the agencies of our federal government are overly aggressive in regulating simple things. Much of it is unnecessary. Some of it does more harm than good and some of the regulators are arrogant. Many are just working people trying to do a job that a lot of us oppose.

We have the ballot box, the courts, the Congress and the court of public opinion to change things we don’t like. As for cursing about issues, ranting about overthrowing the government or hurting someone, let’s just don’t go there. On these spaces…we won’t.

Gene Hall

Public Relations Director
Texas Farm Bureau
I believe that the only hope for a food secure world is capitalism and reasonable profits for America’s farm and ranch families–that the first element of sustainability is economic survival.
Follow Gene on Twitter and Facebook.

8 Responses to “Curses, rants and insurrection doesn’t solve problems”

  1. Well said, Gene.

  2. “We have the ballot box, the courts, the Congress, and the court of public opinion to change things we don’t like.”

    Surely you are not so unsophisticated in the ways of the web/social media to think that those whose opinion scared and displeased you were actual Farm Bureau members or supporters of individual property rights. Our public soapbox venues are heavily seeded with agents provocateur.

    Mr Hall, you once branded my opinion on some topic (probably immigration) “hyperbole”. Another time you advised me that I had replied to an old post of yours, which wouldn’t be viewed by anyone but the two of us, thus continuing the debate was futile. I have come to see that the organization is not interested in fostering a thriving forum for member discourse as I had hoped.

    I continue to receive an email notification every time you post one of your PR pieces, yet the commentary I judiciously offer is never allowed to be viewed publicly. Personally, I find your censorship funny. It seems the space you offer for member comments is reserved only for fawning praise and lockstep agreement.

    I remind you, I am a long-time member of the organization you are paid to represent. I pay in excess of $20 K per year for homeowner, liability, umbrella, auto and farm equipment insurance policies to the company. If my views are not representative of your membership, I would love to know whose are.

    • Mike Barnett says:

      The comments we censored called for overthrowing the government, armed confrontation or swearing. Doesn’t matter if they were members or not. That ‘s not the kind of discussion we will tolerate on the Farm Bureau Facebook page. Mike

      • Dear Sir,

        I have never “called for overthrowing the government, armed confrontation or swearing”, but my comments on this forum have routinely been suspended in “moderation” indefinitely.

        I therefore have surmised that my comments lack the level of naive praise your organization seeks.

        I do not participate on facebook, twitter or any other social media venue, nor did I reference them in my comment you are replying to, therefore your overreaction seems misplaced and off topic.

        Thank you for your attention,

        DDP

        • Gene Hall says:

          I agree, DDP (at least with some of this), which is why I did not accuse YOU of anything.I was speaking in generalities and letting you know that I’d never seen a post of yours that I would pull down. But then, I expect you know that. The difference between us is that I am looking for a conversation, and you are looking for a fight. So much for sincere efforts of explanation. I’m not planning on you hearing from me again. But, comment on this page if you want. We’ll try to clean up the glitches and get them on.

  3. M.Williams says:

    While I don’t wish to incite violence, it cannot be overlooked that our government has gotten too large, too over reaching, and has lost sight of the freedoms we have historically held. Property owner’s rights should never be trampled as is being done up in the Red River. All of these comments and shares on public media have served to enlighten the public about a problem that has been going on for years without much of America knowing about it. When our leaders rule not by the will of the people but by their own pocket books, they need to be set straight regardless of what side of the aisle they sit on. Occasionally, it takes a public outrage like we have witnessed in Nevada and over our own BLM land grab to make our leaders hear The People.

  4. Gene Hall says:

    DDP – We don’t redact or edit statements, but we have pulled down those of some trigger happy anarchists and potty mouth posters without the vocabulary to carry on an intelligent conversation. But, I have responded to some of your posts, and I can’t think of one that I would have pulled down. We don’t agree on a lot, but you post in a manner that is acceptable. This is a moderated blog. That’s just the way it is. We can’t have swearing and we won’t discuss treason as if it’s just another policy option. However, we did have a problem for awhile with WordPress not notifying us of posts. Most of our traffic takes place on Facebook and Twitter. We sometimes forget what is going on here. If you think that’s happened, please email me ghall@txfb.org or send a Facebook message. I’m glad we’ve amused you, but frankly, if we can’t have intelligent discussions about policy reality, this whole effort is just not worth the trouble. Still, I can’t think of a post of yours we would not have posted. Thanks for your membership and I’m sure the folks over in the insurance company are grateful. However, none of that affects policy on the organization side. That’s all done by the vote of farmer/rancher delegates. Your insurance is your decision and policy is in the hands of the delegates.

    • Mr Hall,

      My comment was not in reference to ANY other person’s remarks but my own, made on this board. If you prefer I can go to Cattle Network, Farm Futures or DTN’s comment boards to voice my thorough disgust with Farm Bureau’s recent political postures.

      “We don’t agree on a lot, but you post in a manner that is acceptable.”

      You don’t say! I fall to my knees and kiss your ring!

      I find your arrogant tone breathtaking.

      I suspect we agree on more than you think, sir.

      FYI I am not interested in a long rundown of your recent issues with problem comments on the various social media venues you operate.

      Our inability to discuss policy issues is limited by your insistence on towing the company line, as became clear to me very early on in our exchanges.

      Perhaps you might consider that you may not be the only person to read my opinions posted here, therefore I once again suggest your arrogance limits your understanding of my purpose for posting comments.

      I am interested in communicating with other organization members, who may disagree with company policy that of late seems to have been designed to ignore old fashioned common sense, not to mention public polling.

      The idea that member disagreement with “policy” is not important to the company is laughable, and more evidence of a very odd disconnect within the organization.

      I will certainly be contacting my delegate to share my experience here on your comment board, and to make sure that person grasps my distaste with recent political positioning of the organization, although I suspect like too many board participants in such farm oriented organizations, he/she is little more than a yes-man for the politically well-connected head duck.

      BTW, if you think the recent Nevada situation got out of hand, try to imagine the blowback Farm Bureau will suffer as a result of supporting blanket Amnesty for Illegals.

      Citizens, rural and suburban are no longer relegated to local and regional newspapers for information days or weeks after the fact. BLM brought in battle-hardened multinational hired mercenaries, to face down concerned citizens, possibly infiltrated by a few hot-heads and agitators. That overkill of firepower enraged the majority. Civil discourse is breaking down in America.

      It began when ACA was rammed through congress by hook or crook, using extraordinary rule manipulation against the better judgement and wishes of the majority of We the People.

      The blowback is being somewhat well managed by our political elitist, using incremental release of information followed by stretches of cooling off periods in which public relations specialists are earning their keep reassuring the public that Marxism may not be as bad as they have been taught.

      Thank you for your attention.

      Ms Hyperbole

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