Even the Techies Aren’t Buying It, Jim
I find it interesting that this comes the day after NYT columnist David Pogue responded to a rash of personal attacks and other stupidity with his rules for internet hate mail [nytimes.com]. Pogue dealt with the idiots with humor. The Washington Post had to close down a blog.
The Post could employ some automatic filters to weed out some of the worst offenders, and thus it seems hard to believe their claim that it was requiring two full-time moderators to keep out the blog comments that violated their standards. Either those were some pretty heavy standards that made context such an issue that automated filtering was ineffective, or their web guys are pretty inept.
There may have been some profanity and unacceptable insults in those comments. It takes me 30-45 seconds each morning and afternoon to clear similar out of my inbox, so I am not sure what the big problem was for the WaPo.com site managers.
And then, there was no question that the comments, the vast majority of comments were not uncivil or needed moderation. Frankly, I got nastier comments for insulting Chicago-style hot dogs and had a raging debate over mac and cheese which would have curled Brady’s hair. I won’t even mention what happens when I discuss Manchester United.
If you check the posts, available from Democratic Underground, few crossed any lines of civil comment, but most were quite angry.
It would also do your argument some good to admit what we both know: journalists have very thin skins and hate criticism. It would be easy to see that Howell was unsettled by the vehemence of the comments directed her way and unnerved by them. Because criticism in journalism has been restricted to the occasional letter, not daily parusing of stories and constant e-mail contact. In short, the public is holding journalists accountable in real time, and that is a shock for many reporters and editors.
I think Steve’s right, the real-time nature of blogging — where your shit is out there in the open before you have time to catch your breath, and you have absolutely no control over it — probably shocked them. I’m not unsympathetic, but their steadfast refusal to correct Howell’s mistake is till abject wankery.
Then Greg at the Talent Show wonders, once again, where the Dems are:
The whole reason lefty-bloggers have been pointing out this media misinformation over and over again is to defend you guys. Since you beltway chickenshits have proven yourselves unwilling to defend your own views, we’ve put ourselves in the unenviable position of going up against media giants whose primary concern is avoiding the ire of conservative watchdog groups. And now that the inevitable pushback is occurring, the conventional wisdom is coalescing around the lie that bloggers and their readers are ignorant, vindictive trolls who add nothing to polite discourse. Here we are trying to pick up the slack for your ineffective war rooms and this is the thanks we get? We’ve got your back, why can’t you get ours?
The other day on a conference call Harry Reid acknowledged that people like Chris Matthews and Tim Russert were abject water carriers for the GOP, and said that blogs were the only way to get the Democrats’ message out there "unfiltered." I was happy to see John Kerry backing up the blogger smackdown of Matthews, because people like Lou Dobbs are going to continue to spew disinformation on a regular basis until we let them know it is not okay to say Jack Abramoff gave money to Democrats when he didn’t, it is not okay to compare Michael Moore to Osama bin Laden, and there are consequences.
photo: Darren Hester