Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

The New Tabloid Cesspool

CHOICES, CHOICESMost every day, I could spend all my days reporting offensive comments on the New York Post website. This is, in a way, mildly amusing, because the Post likes to think of itself as the institution that represents New York's moral rectitude. It's the great finger-wagger. Yet its comment sections are among the most foul, revolting, repressive, juvenile and vulgar places on the whole Internet. That is really saying something! The only place worse on the Internet today is the comments sections of the fellow populist scold, the Daily News. Today brings news of the in-home murder of a 29-year-old transgender woman, who was also robbed. The comments include: "Guess she/he pick up the wrong man who did not appreciate her mail agenda after seeing her boobs." [Sic?] That's not very inventive but here's a whole NEW kind of prejudice: "Whatever; he's still a male and will always been known as a male. Probably his own kind that got rid of him. To much competition among themselves." Huh. That is a new one! Also, why don't their publishers care that they are littering the Internet with the moronic thoughts of hateful idiots?

25 Comments / Post A Comment

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

Thin edge of the wedge for breakfast!

KarenUhOh (#19)

They're not haters. They're unique visitors.

Mindpowered (#948)

Indeed, all the 14 year old boys need somewhere to post.

cherrispryte (#444)

That is what Fark is for.

conklin (#364)

Here's a Gladwellian/Slate-y contrarian POV: maybe comment sections are a good thing because they undermine the ability of these publishers to pretend that their "journalism" isn't prodding their readership's roiling id, ultimately forcing them into accountability?

Ugh, probably not. Page views, etc.

ProfessorBen (#1,254)

How aware do you think the average journalist is that s/he is being played by PR firms to write advertorial-type content? How aware is the average reader? The average editor?

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

Pretty aware, vaguely aware, so aware it hurts.

Eric Allam (#4,232)

This is pretty much the exact reason I created a chrome extension that blocks comments (altough not on theawl (yet!?)). It's called NoComments if you wanna check it out (it blocks comments).

I created an extension for this purpose too! It's called Don'tScrollDown.

garge (#736)

Nurse, is it available for Netscape??

Telegram Sam (#3,847)

If you write a script to block gay comments it can be called NoHomo. Or pro-Obama comments: NoBama. I'll think up the names if you can make 'em work.

Bittersweet (#765)

How about a script to block firsties and those annoying robot-posts exhorting you to click through to **DATE RICH MILLIONAIRES**?

dado (#102)

I think it's The Post's ad department.

Neopythia (#353)

I wonder if some of this is due to people trying to be snarky, but unable to tell the difference between good snark and bad snark, or even able to discern appropriate times for snark. Sure there are genuine bigots, but I think some of those comments are trying to be funny, at least I hope they are.

Also saying the word snark over and over again makes me think of Thundercats.

myfanwy (#1,124)

Unfortunately, based on my acute analysis of my local news websites, they're all raving bigots.

Dickdogfood (#650)

Why don't their publishers care? Isn't it safe to assume that the people running most big media websites probably think that effectively policing their commentariat requires too much of a cost (you have to hire people, ugh), comes with too little a reward (do nice commenters make a site more money?), and comes with too much risk (nudge people towards civility a little *too* hard and suddenly you're COMMUNIST NAZI OBAMA-LOVER, etc.).

oudemia (#177)

Do you do consultant work for Politico? I'm pretty sure this is their business model. (Seriously, the most fetid and racist comments section I have ever seen in a supposedly wonky/insidery site. Hateful.)

There are companies that do this for hire. I wish I had thought of it.

sigerson (#179)

Compare to the NYTimes, which STILL moderates their comments so that it isn't instantly on the website and must be approved by some intern-monkey at a computer somewhere. It actually makes for interesting reading if you pick up the 600+ comment thread on a Maureen Down column (preferably without reading her column first, natch) and see what the Reader Recommendations and Editor Recommendations are showing.

katiebakes (#32)

I think about comment sections a lot.

For one thing, why does the Observer get like zero comments? Everyone takes to their own blogs to discuss Spencer Morgan instead of submitting their arch asides to be preserved beneath his prose for all of interneternity.

On the other hand, who are all the rapid creepers snarling away over at That site must have a 1:1 page view to comment ratio.

Baroness (#273)

I used to wonder about that too, and I seem to recall there was at least a heartbeat of comments at the NYO like, ten years ago. Nothing major, but signs of life. But let's face it, the Observer is a zombie now- Spence Morgan aside, the paper is dull, it's like Teen Beat for real estate moguls or something. It used to be fairly fun and witty, but I can't see much to it these days.

Newser: Michael Wolff's awfulness attracts like minds, I guess.

"moronic thoughts of hateful idiots"

You're referring, I take it, to the Post editorial page?

Rod T (#33)

You let me comment here, and I'm a fucking lout too.

Ananke (#3,223)

The Boston Globe is pretty bad, too. Anything to do with politics and you get hundreds of teabaggers responding. I don't know where these people come from but they're awful. Makes me lose whatever little respect I had left for the liberalism of Massachusetts.

sigerson (#179)

Oh, and I beg to differ on the Worst Commenters Title. Dealbreaker has owned that for at least since Carney left.

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