One reason I don’t usually bother battling in comments sections under articles are the many comments that are so terrible very few would actually speak that way while others were watching. However, under the anonymity of the internet they either simply seek to push people’s buttons or they let their true selves be show. Either way it’s quite disgusting.
Despite its power to inform and connect people across cultures and time zones, the Internet all too often discourages, or coarsens, a healthy civic discussion.
By James Rainey, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
July 31, 2008
The Washington Post published a smart, thorough takedown Wednesday of the baseless charge that Barack Obama spurned a visit with wounded troops because he couldn’t turn the trip into a public relations coup.
Reporters Michael D. Shear and Dan Balz showed that Obama never planned to take the media to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, putting the lie to charges from John McCain that the Democrat was on the prowl for a cheap photo op.
After reading the Post story online, I ventured to the adjoining public comment board to see how the public was receiving news about the bogus McCain attack. I shouldn’t have bothered.
This portion of the article aptly sums up all articles involving immigration as it does the article on Obama mentioned in this piece:
A few ventured toward rational discussion of Obama and his overseas travels, but the forum also overflowed with ignorance, profanity, impertinence and racism.
Sadly this kind of hatred and bigotry can be found all over the internet. Cafe Press, an innocent enough site allowing users to create and print their own artwork onto clothing and household items, has many racist offerings available including riding a Mexican instead of a horse, Uncle Sam urinating on Mexico and an illegal alien hunting permit. (Anti-Migrant Designs Available At Cafe Press)
The article goes on to give us some of the terrible comments from the article’s comments section:
It might have been Daman1, who described Obama as a backer of Kwanzaa and called the annual celebration of African heritage “a made-up holiday to celebrate the first time Dr. J dunked from the foul line.”
Or perhaps the top offender might have been Dianne72, who complained about “the ‘whitey’ rants of Michelle Shaniqua Obama. Doesn’t she realize that it was whitey’s affirmative action policies that got her where she is today?”
If the lowbrow, racist, bigoted and polarizing comments found on many of these message boards and comments section truly are the voice of the public then we’re really in trouble. Is there an intolerance hiding behind the masks of the public – one that they’ll never show coworkers or family members, but one they’re unafraid to show online where nobody can “see” them?
Just for fun here’s How to Fight Bad Karma on the Internet.