Those of you who read my posts regularly know that this week I offered my own little solution to the damaging and heart-breaking problem of hate-filled, anonymous comments on the Internet. Today, McClatchy ran a story about the arrest of the mother of the boyfriend of Bristol Palin. There’s not a d*mned thing to say about that, but it does provide yet another opportunity to say cruel and unnecessary things about the family of a public figure. So the McClatchy moderator posted this line: “I’m not going to allow comments on this story. Jim, McClatchy’s Moderator.” Then he shut off the Comment function for the story and went on with his day. BRAVO, Jim. BRAVO. This is exactly what needs to be done, and he’s taking a wise stand in doing so. Not everyone will follow the lead, of course. They’ll cry about the free exchange of ideas (when no ideas are being exchanged, let us note)–and that’s their right under the First Amendment. But by doing this, Jim is helping to corner the hate-filled commenters into little ghettos around the Internet that people of good will will learn to avoid. (I’m thinking of the Huffington Post, for starters, though Tina Brown’s Daily Beast is rising fast–like bile).
Thank you, Jim. I urge others to follow your lead: Shut down comments, or require name and confirmed address to be posted next to them, like in a newspaper Letter to the Editor.
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