Sunday, May 20, 2007

Online Venom Or Free Speech?

That is the title of the column by the Washington Post Ombudsman Deborah Howell today.
Once again, the dirty filthy hippies are acting up and being uncivil in the Post comments section.

What ticks me off about this alleged column is the intellectual dishonesty.
Complaints first came from the newsroom. Reporters don't appreciate the often rude feedback, which I get, too. (A sample reader comment on my column last week: "I think we can all agree after reading Howell's lame comments week after week that the Post should save money by eliminating her position entirely. She is worse than a dupe.")

I think that would be a pretty fair comment actually. But, the person who wrote it seemed polite and interested in economic growth in the Post's earnings figures to me. This is the key paragraph in this piece. The rest is self justifying bull crap. Before any members of the public ever complained about the user comments, it was the reporters themselves getting the vapors.

The Web site draws about 4,600 comments a day. But not all readers are happy about this feature. Philip J. Celeste of Danvers, Mass., wrote: "The Washington Post is an excellent newspaper . . . it has the most informative, current, up-to-the-minute and objective news that is happening in our nation's capital. I think the comments section after all news stories should be eliminated. They are like an open sewer."

As Grandpa Simpson said, ""Dear sir. There are too many states nowadays. Please eliminate three. I am not a crackpot". We have known for months about how upset the reporters and editorialists were upset about rude comments but this just smacks of Howell finally getting enough reader complaints to justify a column saying that it isn't just those of us getting our oxes gored. Somebody in Massachusetts agrees too!

I have a confession to make. I may be biased. One of my email accounts was banned from Washington Post last week. The only things I commented on were David Broder columns, and Fred Hiatt editorials. There was never any profanity used in my critiques of what they had to say. But apparently, mentioning that the emperor has no clothes is profane in and of itself.

What the journalists hate about this feature is the immediacy of it. The profanity is just a ruse. Dick Cheney tells Pat Leahy to fuck himself. Reporters still talk to him. This week, John McCain called a fellow Republican Senator a chicken shit. Will columnists avoid his 'Straight Talk Express' now due to his lack of civility? Umm, no.

What journalists hate is that they often make stupid mistakes, use profoundly wrong logic, and now citizens have the ability to immediately call them on it. David Broder uses a partisan as his "expert" to justify opposing a voting reform bill, and within minutes, people handy with google can comment on that fact showing documentation. Fred Hiatt writes editorial after editorial justifying the Iraq invasion. People helpfully correct him of his notions. That is what is upsetting to Howell and Broder and Hiatt as well as the rest of the gang who can't shoot straight.

To make them feel better, I will say 'fuck you' to them, so they can pretend that anything else I said wasn't valid.

Update:Joe Klein agrees with everything Howell says. This proves my point n'est pas?