Our mediocre local newspaper, Ann Arbor News
, died. It was replaced by a megaphone for every half-wit conservative with OCD in the region called annarbor.com
. The comments of EVERY article are clogged with cranks complaining about Obama, socialism, taxes, food stamps or welfare, Muslims, any public spending, etc.
Unmoderated comments on annarbor.com
recently contributed greatly to the defeat of a county-wide property-tax hike for our schools which will lead to our very good schools turning to just okay schools in Ann Arbor, and the impoverished schools to the east of us turning to absolute crap, as we cannot counteract the collapse of state funding.
I asked Tony Dearing, the man responsible for annarbor.com
's moderation policy -- and the policy of permitting unpaid bloggers (in lieu of journalists) to put up uncorrected, un-factchecked posts (sometimes with obscenities) -- why he felt it was okay to foul the public commons.
"Everyone is doing it," was his reply.
I asked him if it would be okay for him to drain his household sewer into the river if everyone else was doing it.
is a Chicago radio host I have listened to on and off since I was 13. He now hosts a daily one-hour podcast
Everybody is a know-it-all these days -- chicagotribune.com
Everybody is a know-it-all these days. I blame the Internet. I know a little bit about a lot of things, and I'm not afraid to step up to a microphone or keyboard and do a little "truth screaming." Audience reaction, specifically ratings, determined whether I was allowed to continue such a practice. I was held accountable by management, listeners and, most important, advertisers.
These days, a person only needs a computer to spew opinion across a variety of platforms. Healthy doses of outrage and narcissism are also helpful.
Don't get me wrong. I am also an outraged narcissist, but I had to work six-hour shifts in Bakersfield, Calif., to earn my stripes as a communicator. Nowadays, having a Twitter page qualifies a person to give commentary on CNN. I am not interested in the take of @stinky on the Fort Hood shootings or any other current events. I am watching CNN because I expect them to gather the news, not act as a clearinghouse for any bonehead with a computer, a cable modem and a half-baked opinion....
I beseech the online editors at this paper to turn off the "comments" after each article. If people have opinions about something that they've just read, let them write a letter to the editor.