The subjects that have generated the most vitriol during my tenure in this role are race and immigration. The racist comments showed up regularly during the presidential campaign and have continued at a slower pace since Barack Obama's election. Racist remarks often accompany stories about crime and violence. The untimely death of the Washington Redskins' Sean Taylor would be the most appalling example. Where does this hate come from? Do we need to know it's here?
Yes, we do. But I am heartened by the fact that such comments do not go unchallenged by readers. In fact, comment strings are often self-correcting and provide informative exchanges. If somebody says something ridiculous, somebody else will challenge it. And there is wit. My favorite one-liner came in the coverage following the botched swearing-in of President Obama by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. A reader self-identified as "HumbleGovWorker" observed that "This is not one for the Harvard Law Alumni Newsletter." Both Obama and Roberts are Harvard Law grads.
Monday, May 11, 2009
The upside of nasty blog comments? (Wash. Post)