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Comments Redux

I have read with great interest the “Comments” that follow local newspaper stories online. While not infrequently many are interesting perspectives or points of view, often they seem to be personal rants devoid of logic, to say nothing of grammar, if not personal attacks on other commenters.

In the “old” days, if one had an opinion differing from an editorial or “comment” of moment on a news story, one would write a “Letter to the Editor.” Those letters were well vetted and to get one published was something of an achievement for the writer, as it was one of many submitted selected for publication, “meritorious” in a sense, at fully attributable.

Today, “open comments” policies, to me, too often diminish well considered intellectual points of view and too frequently contain information that is either blatantly false or not factual. 

Given the condition of the newspaper industry today, I’m sure that “open comments” drive online readership, however, I hope the media finds a more effective method of vetting them and requires full attribution. After all, if the writer believes in his or her position, he or she should take pride in posting it; too often it seems they are based on headlines or the first graf, or simply whole cloth.

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