Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I've Been Censored!

Censorship -- the control of the information and ideas circulated within a society -- has been a hallmark of dictatorships throughout history. In the 20th Century, censorship was achieved through the examination of books, plays, films, television and radio programs, news reports, and other forms of communication for the purpose of altering or suppressing ideas found to be objectionable or offensive.


In August, I was ASKED TO WRITE a blog post for Best for Babes website's new advocacy page about my "Stop Newark/Nestle Now" Campaign.  So I spent a good day or so writing what I thought was a very nice piece.  Previously, I had done 2 guest blog for and which were well received.  I looked forward to educating and enlightening more people.

I sent the guest blog post to Michelle-- the person in charge of the advocacy page - she approved and posted it. 
(I stuck it here if you'd like to read it)

Shortly, thereafter I received the following email.  

Hi Maria,

I wanted to let you know that I made a decision to remove your guest blog post from the Best for Babes blog.   Although we fully support the petition you created and link to it from our Take Action hub (which is managed by Michelle Hickman), the tone of the post you wrote does not reflect the way in which we strive to communicate with our followers, fans and supporters.   In addition, some time ago we were made aware of comments you made on your blog that were negative towards formula-feeding moms, which is a conflict because we ask that guest bloggers subscribe to our mission and credo; and also negative remarks towards Best for Babes, which leads us to believe that writing for Best for Babes is not a good fit for you.

Danielle and I do appreciate the work you do to support moms and babies to breastfeed, and wish you the very best in your endeavors!

With best regards,
Bettina Forbes, CLC
Co-Founder, Best for Babes® Foundation

Of course, I was taken back a bit.  I spent time, worked hard on it and felt that this campaign deserved the attention.  Isn't that  why did they ask me to write it in the first place?  So, I responded with the following email:
Dear Bettina,
Thank you for your candid email. I appreciate honesty and regret this correspondance hadn't occured sooner.
Offending is never my intent when I write a blog. I am well aware of how words can influence and stir up some very uncomfortable feelings in both the writer and reader. My words (in question) were meant as a passionate "Call to Action" for all women but obviously they were misinterpreted by some (as often they can be)- I deeply regret that. As I try to keep close watch on how I live and how I teach and stay true to what is right, I am not by any means perfect :(
Also, if you had thought that I had made any negative remarks about your organization, I apologize and wish you would have contacted me immediately. I would hope we could openly discussed anything as we are professional adults, working together for the greater good.
I can assure you that I am in no way prejudice or judgemental toward any mother, no matter how she feeds her baby. Obviously, I wouldn't have a successful, rewarding career helping mothers and babies for over 20 years if I was like that. Anyone that knows me can tell you, I am all welcoming and inclusive in my work and my life.
As I realize your opinion is based on your passion and loyalty, I would hope that you would reserve the judgement that you so kindly impart to your followers to me as well.
As far as the guest post I was asked to write for your "Take Action" Hub, I respect your opinion but if you wouldn't mind clarifying for me what you meant by "the tone of the post you wrote does not reflect the way in which we strive to communicate with our followers, fans and supporters" ? I spent quite a bit of time on it and similar guest blogs of mine were posted on and without any problems so could you be more specific?
The Newark-Nestle issue is much more important than my ego, trust me, so I am open to re-writing something that you feel would better suit your readership. I just need to know what you want :)
Best to you,
Maria Parlapiano RN IBCLC

Guess what?  I never heard back from her. 

Do you believe that the B4B readership should be "protected" from the information provided in the guest post I submitted? 
Or is this censorship more personal ie. Bettina just doesn't like me.

You be the judge.