Could Someone Explain Why Publications That Do Great Journalism Allow Dumb, Nasty, Anonymous Comments on Their Websites?

By Jack Limpert

The Washington Post this morning had a story about Children’s Hospital in DC partnering with Inova, a big healthcare network with hospitals in Northern Virginia, to provide “more direct access to doctors who treat specialized children’s illnesses, including cancer, genetic disorders and bone problems.” Something wrong with that? Yes, someone called “commentator3” says on the Post website that Children’s Hospital is “a pretty mediocre institution.”

A Post story about Bob Woodward’s battle with the Obama White House caused someone named “Cowabunga” to comment on the Post website today that Woodward looks like “a blithering idiot.”

The Post’s policy is to “encourage commenters to use their real names.”

The New York Times? Today someone named “Matt” says Republicans in Congress are “self-serving clowns” who “engage in some of the worst social behaviours while preaching ‘family values’ to others.”

The Times website, when asked if commenters should use their real name, says, “Yes, definitely. Please fill in the name field with your real name. We have found that people who use their names carry on more engaging, respectful conversations.”

It’s kind of like going to a Georgetown-Louisville basketball game and the fat guy in front of me on his third beer yells “Thompson, you’re stupid and an even worse coach than your old man.”

Okay, the fat guy bought a ticket and I had to listen to him but does Jay Bilas then tell his CBS audience that the fat drunk in row Q thinks John Thompson III is stupid and can’t coach?

Who cares what the Cowabungas of the world think?

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