Monday, April 14, 2014

Is Sun-Times censoring its readership? Or just weeding out the nit-wits?

The Chicago Sun-Times let it be known this weekend that they’re going to follow a trend a lot of newspapers have undertaken when it comes to their websites – you won’t be able to post anonymous comments any more at the end of stories published at

Getting w/ the program on anonymous commentary
The newspaper says that the comments meant to give readers a chance to express their views instantly have become a, “morass of negativity, racism, hate speech and general trollish behaviors” that do no good.

NOT THAT PEOPLE won’t be able to let their views be known about the stories the Sun-Times chooses to publish.

Because like many other publications – including the Chicago Tribune – already do, their sites are connected to Facebook in ways that make it very easy for people to post links to the newspaper’s stories on their Facebook pages.

Then, people can easily post their responses on those pages, while also saying whether they “like” the story in question – which in no way means they actually approve of what was reported.

In fact, the Sun-Times let it be known that’s exactly what people can still do – connect to the newspaper’s content on Facebook and Twitter.

SO THE FACT that the nasty comments will no longer be directly attached to the Sun-Times stories themselves won’t stop them from being made. Plus, there will always be the possibility of someone else using a different website to attack the newspaper in some form.

I know that firsthand, because I do some work for one of the suburban-based daily newspapers – the Times of Northwest Indiana – which actually made the same move more than a year ago that the Sun-Times is undertaking now.

In fact, reading the Sun-Times’ statement about the elimination of Internet comments, I was struck by the similarity. The Sun-Times says its change is temporary, while a new method of permitting commentary to editorial content is devised.

That’s the same thing the Times said it would do, and has not done yet. Although it’s always possible that I’m the last to know of an impending change.

ALTHOUGH THE REAL point is that I don’t think the Times lost much of anything when it did away with the strings of comments that would accompany many stories – with it turning out that there were a few people who seemed to feel the need to make a hostile comment about everything.

And many of those comments often had nothing to do with the actual story itself, but were rather about personalities and someone’s need to take a pot shot at someone else.

Anonymously, of course!

Personally, I feel sorry for such people that they seem to have so little in their lives that they ranted more than a year ago that the Times was censoring their views, just as they’re now complaining that the Sun-Times is engaging in CENSORSHIP!!!!

WHICH IS NONSENSE. It is censorship if they create their own site and write hostile comments, and someone tries to shut them down. That is un-American, and I would defend them, no matter how stupid and trivial their comments actually were on their own sites.

This is a case of going onto someone else’s site, and trying to tell them what they MUST publish. If anything, I consider those anonymous commenters to be more akin to censors than anyone else.

But I’m not going to get too worked up over them. They’re going to find other places to go to make their hostile, mean-spirited and petty comments.

While the bulk of us will feel compelled to ignore them because, after all, we have lives!


EDITOR’S NOTE: Yes, I permit commentary here. I’m also pretty loose about what I permit. Stay away from the profanity, and I’ll permit just about anything – no matter how ridiculous it makes you seem for thinking that way.

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