A little about a lot

Thursday, October 16, 2008

At a loss for words

Today I received an e-mail from a reader who wants the my newspaper to stop allowing people to post online comments about stories.

The reader says that all "negative" comments about stories or the people in the stories violate our policy to generally disallow any comments that are racist, obscene or libelous.

She says "Good job (newspaper), you are really helping this cut down on the negative feedback of (this town), not. All in all there are several people that I spoke with that would like you to do away with entirely the comment section on articles. Do that in order to make the people of (this town)not look so self centered or ridiculously uncaring."



I don't understand how people are so incredibly short sighted. We see this attitude all the time - this "only positive sentiments should be heard - for the good of the community" attitude.

At a recent school board meeting, HORDES of people showed up to defend a coach who was caught on tape going on a three-minute tirade, berating his players and even threatening to "cut your f-ing nuts off."

When a person who disagreed that this was the best way to build team discipline began to step to the podium, the others in the crowd said he should not be allowed to speak because "there is no place for your comments here."

I'm just so FRUSTRATED that this is what we've become as a society. I'm so frustrated that people would much rather sweep problems under the rug, smiling like idiots, than flush out and address issues that are poisoning the community.

And it makes me sad. It makes me sad that we send soldiers to fight wars to give freedoms that we ourselves seem to disown.

A lot of journalists hold the motto "free speech isn't free" close to their hearts. It seems that it not only isn't free, it also isn't appreciated or desired.


At 11:50 AM, Blogger Sarah said...

Amen, sista.

At 7:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: Wall Street Journal article October 16, 2008, "In Thailand, Insulting the King Can Mean 15 Years in Jail".
My view is "freedom is not free". It takes the guts to tell the true story, live the principles, and truly defend the principles - regardless of cost.
Journalist have the most important function in continuing the fight.
I am so proud of you, your professional integrity, and your heart.
Rain Road Rants

At 4:52 PM, Blogger White Hat Black Hat said...

You should respond and tell them that you agree, and from now on you will be unilaterally deciding which comments are acceptable. Let them know, however, that you feel that the community leans a bit too far to the right, and so you will not be accepting any pro-Republican comments or comments from the Christian-right.

I'm guessing that either (i) they babble awhile, retract their position and hang up or (ii) their head spontaneously combusts.

Either way, it should be fun.

P.S. I'm still waiting for you to start a story with either "Once upon a time" or "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away". Kind of disappointed I haven't seen it yet. Maybe, just to tide me over, the next time you report on a city meeting or hearing or something, you could give a little nod to 4-H secretaries past and end with "A good time was had by all".


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