Bad Journalism + Biased Editor = The Gray News

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

“mugged by the blogosphere”

This entry is dedicated to Elizabeth Prata, Jeanne Adams, Gary Foster, Andy Upham, and anyone else who the Administrators on the ‘graydissidents’ and ‘BWG’ blogs abused over the last few months, abused either through their own postings, or allowing terrible comments to be posted from those hate blogs’ anonymous and non-anonymous contributors.

The following was printed on the Washington Post blog. It’s an explanation from Executive Editor Jim Brady, on why he turned off comments. It is excerpted below. Original here--

As biased as the Gray News is, their reporter Nathan Tsukroff is even more biased on his Gray News no-holds-barred BWG blog. For example, in “Monument promotes a candidate” he presents skewed information to the reader, and fails to tell them that just as candidate Julie DeRoche’s release was sent to the Gray News, and Alison Libbey’s was sent to the Gray News, (Or, ‘Ann Libby’ according Tsukroff) the Walls release was sent to The Gray News, too. It’s just that with Walls’s release, Nathan chose to make fun of Walls, the sender, and his competitor newspaper.

Pointing out these facts to anyone involved with 'graydidssidents' or 'BWG' always results in abusing the commenter, who is usually called a "howler monkey" or "viral implant" or worse.

So here is why biasbuster chose to enact to comment moderation. The Brady excerpt is written well and explained clearly by Brady, and it represents my feelings exactly.

WP editor won't let comments area become an attack zone
Washington Post executive editor Jim Brady wonders why people became so angry during the Deborah Howell column flap. "Maybe this level of anger has been out there for a long time, waiting to be enabled by technology. Forget about writing a letter, getting a stamp and mailing it in. Anger now has an easy and immediate outlet," he writes. But "we won't allow our comments area to become a place where people can use whatever vulgar language they want, personally attack Post staffers or bully other contributors to our pages or discussions.” What’s distressing about Brady's recent experience is that a small number of highly partisan, energetic bloggers poisoned the debate instead of contributing to it.

Brady writes--“My favorite story from this adventure involves one blogger who proudly runs a no-holds-barred blog that relishes name calling. Nonetheless, we invited this blogger to participate in an online discussion about ethics on the Web. During the discussion, this blogger peppered me with many of the same questions that I'd answered in other forums. In one of my responses, I noted the investigative nature of her questions and suggested that when she was done playing Columbo, she might actually discuss the topic we'd invited her to discuss. More than 50 of this blogger's readers later sent e-mails to me demanding a public apology for comparing this blogger to a fictional television detective. One of the complaints about my manners closed by telling me to go do something unprintable with myself "and that Wa:Po rag you ride about town." Uh, thanks.”

“But we won't allow our comments area to become a place where people can use whatever vulgar language they want, personally attack Post staffers or bully other contributors to our pages or discussions. There are folks who call this position naive. That's their right. There are those who will decide not to be part of the discussion we're having on because they don't like our rules. That's their choice. We have chosen to build a certain type of community on our site, and based on the e-mail and letters I've received in the past three weeks, there are a lot of people who want to join it. But what do I know? I'm an idiot. Just ask the people who don't know me."

Jim Brady is the executive editor of


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