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Washington Post Shuts Down Blog

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the sounds-familiar dept.

The Internet 347

Billosaur writes "C|Net has an article by Katharine Q. Seelye of The New York Times, which indicates that the Washington Post is having to close one of its blogs, due to 'too many personal attacks, profanity and hate mail directed at the paper's ombudsman.' It seems that Deborah Howell, the newspaper's ombudsman, wrote an article on the Jack Abramoff scandal which elicited a storm of protest and led to readers using profanity and making unprintable comments, which the paper had to take extra care in removing. This was apparently more based on the issue at hand, as the Post's other blogs have not experienced similar problems." What kind of precedent does this set for other mainstream news sites? What we'd consider a normal day around here has to look fairly intimidating to the average newspaper editor. Will this dissuade news sites from blogging in the future?

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Rules for hateful posting (5, Interesting)

gbulmash (688770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14521965)

I find it interesting that this comes the day after NYT columnist David Pogue responded to a rash of personal attacks and other stupidity with his rules for internet hate mail [nytimes.com] . Pogue dealt with the idiots with humor. The Washington Post had to close down a blog.

One of Pogue's observations, which is by no means original, was that this sort of thing is partially driven by anonymity. You can say the meanest, most unreasonable, stupid crap in an e-mail or blog comment, and there are no consequences. If you want, you don't even have to deal with the consequence of a reasoned reply or rebuttal.

The Post could employ some automatic filters to weed out some of the worst offenders, and thus it seems hard to believe their claim that it was requiring two full-time moderators to keep out the blog comments that violated their standards. Either those were some pretty heavy standards that made context such an issue that automated filtering was ineffective, or their web guys are pretty inept.

- Greg

I used to work with Deborah Howell (2, Funny)

CreamOfWheat (593775) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522057)

She was a real bright and witty lady, although she did have a really nasty habit of picking her nose and eating the booger at meetings. This really grossed people out. Still a very nice woman.

Re:Rules for hateful posting (4, Interesting)

boldtbanan (905468) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522086)

Anonymity doesn't play nearly as much a role as most people think. This had to do with politics, and that inevitably leads to a flame war, on the internet and in real life. Just look at Congress. Besides, internet anonymity is a myth for the vast majority of people.

Re:Rules for hateful posting (4, Insightful)

tool462 (677306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522282)

I would argue that perceived anonymity is more important than whether it really exists.

People will do some crazy stuff when they think nobody is looking...

Re:Rules for hateful posting (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14522362)

Re:Rules for hateful posting (2, Insightful)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522374)

With public boards allowing people to go through other users' old posts, "anonymity" is fading, and you're composed of not just the thoughts in your current post, but of your past posts (should anyone take the time to check...and they do). If you have a tendency to exaggerate, people will take note. If you preach uncited "facts", people will always question you. So while you as a person remain message_board_user_045, message_board_user_045 does have a history, a personality, a fanbase (or detractors).

Re:Rules for hateful posting (2, Funny)

Otter (3800) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522097)

Obviously the initial ping in the Intel jingle doesn't count -- there are four notes, anyone who thinks otherwise is an idiot, you're undoubtedly David Pogue posting under a fake name, and that moron Zonk just posted something that was on Digg over 20 minutes ago.

Unreadable posts! (-1, Offtopic)

Dog Chapman (942321) | more than 8 years ago | (#14521987)

*Earmuffs!*
Another fucking day at shit-ass cock fuck /.

Balls.

turn off comments (1)

dirvish (574948) | more than 8 years ago | (#14521994)

They might have to do what I've done with some of my blogs where this has become a problem; turn off comments. Granted, this makes it less of a blog and more of a newspaper...

Or, if they have the manpower review every comment before they go live. Commentors will live w/ a delay of their comment being posted.

Re:turn off comments (4, Insightful)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522034)

Or implement Slashdot like karma so users can moderate each other's comments. Works fairly well. A lot better than trying to have a single moderator.

Re:turn off comments (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522334)

Works fairly well.

No, it doesn't. The GNAA freaks, for example.

Re:turn off comments (1)

griffjon (14945) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522163)

Hell, they can replace half of the workload with some regex script that checks for a few inflamatory comments and common misspellings/l33tsp33k... Of course it's the whole content providor dilemma, if you screen at all, you're responsible for content.

Re:turn off comments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14522265)

Granted, this makes it less of a blog and more of a newspaper...

No. It makes it just like a regular website.

You bloggers are all the same. Totally full of yourselves.

Re:turn off comments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14522369)

Hey, watch who you are talking to. This fellow apparently has so many important things to say that he has multiple blogs. A regular modern day Descartes this chap must be with so much profound stuff to say.

A vague feeling of "so what" (3, Interesting)

aborchers (471342) | more than 8 years ago | (#14521995)

I've always been a little skeptical of "traditional" media blogging anyway. The whole thing smacks of embrace-and-extend co-opting of the otherwise independent spirit of the phenomenon.

Too Thin-skinned (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14521996)

When you make your opinions public on messages boards, what do you expect? And coming from people who report on politics, which is a rough, dirty business. I guess this is just another example of the old guard not being able to cope with the future. Let them shut down and we can all move on. They won't be missed.

Re:Too Thin-skinned (1, Flamebait)

DeepHurtn! (773713) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522066)

If the much vaunted "future" means replacing reasoned debate with over-the-top personal attacks, threats, and senseless profanity, then I for one certainly will miss the "old guard".[1] Your acceptance of such adolescent behaviour points to an ugly and ill-informed future indeed. [1] Of course, there is very little actual political debate within traditional media as well, but let's not fool ourselves about what "new media" has accomplished.

Re:Too Thin-skinned (1)

JoeBallPein (657959) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522421)

So says the Anonymous Coward. Of course we won't miss the commentary of folks who have a career of monitoring and reporting on politics. I'm sure the teeming masses will be just as good.

Get the facts... (4, Informative)

Caste11an (898046) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522006)

The "highly inflammatory personal attacks" included virtually NO foul language, and the responses were based on the fact that Ms. Howell perpetuated a Republican talking point (i.e. lie) that Democrats were just as guilty of taking tainted Abramoff money as Republicans. Most of the folks responding were suggesting what can only be the best course of action: Howell should resign, or the Washington Post should can her.

facts: Dems and GOP are just as bad on this one. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14522313)

Look at the facts:

http://www.capitaleye.org/abramoff_recips.asp?sort =R [capitaleye.org]

Count the Democrats. I lost count at 80. Notice also the fun facts such as Corazine, an ultra-rich Democrat, receiving a bribe, and Charlie Rangel (D) receiving MORE of an abramoff bribe than "ethics problem poster child" Tom Delay (R).

You have large numbers of BOTH Democrats and Republicans receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from Abramoff.

If you add it up, you will see that the Republicans received more. However, the large amounts of cash received by both negate any point of saying "yeah, but they are worse!" and it proves that the biggest lie is to deny that this is a completely bipartisan scandal.

Harry Reid (D) has been caught up in his own lie, and it makes him look very bad when he has declared that he will pocket his $30,500 Abramoff bribe (one of the highest on the list) because it is a "Republican scandal".

It's pretty bad to be caught with your hand in the cookie jar (like all these Republicans and Democrats on the list). It is even worse to be so craven as to actually leave your hand in the cookie jar when caught, as Reid is doing.

Re:facts: Dems and GOP are just as bad on this one (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14522487)

I call bullshit: you're conflating contribution sources.

You say "an abramoff bribe", yet from your linked chart:

Here is a detailed look at Abramoff's lobbying, and political contributions from Abramoff, the tribes that hired him, and SunCruz Casinos, since 1999.

I clicked through on the top 20 dems by dollar amount, and NOT ONE got money from Abramhoff, Scanlon, or SunCruz Casinos. I'm sorry, but just because a group hires a lobbyist does not mean that every political contribution from that group is controlled by that lobbyist. I mean, fer chrissakes, there were tribes with gaming operations who were contributing to congressman Harry Reid (D-NV) for obvious reasons (Nevada, hello?). There were also tribes contributing to the congressman representing their district.

Clicking on the top 20 Republicans (or Repub committees) showed lots taking money directly from Abramhoff, Scanlon (his business partner), and SunCruz casinos.

Re:Get the facts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14522341)

Ms. Howell perpetuated a Republican talking point (i.e. lie) that Democrats were just as guilty of taking tainted Abramoff money as Republicans.

Oh, they're not? Whew! Tell Tom Harkin he's off the hook because he's not a Republican!

Yeah, it's not that there are more influential Republicans (IE: Politicians WORTH paying off) because they control the Executive, Legislative AND Judicial branches that the Republicans got the majority of the numbers... nope, it's because Republicans are inherently dirty. Glad you cleared that up.

Re:Get the facts... (1)

s20451 (410424) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522371)

Here's what I love most about the so-called new media. It criticizes the establishment on one hand, while selectively using it for validation on the other. Roughly one out of every three articles is some diatribe against established journalism (NYT, WaPo, etc), posting a story and complaining that the blogger's pet cause is being ignored. This is generally followed by some rant about the death of the old media, and how reporters are just as corrupt as politicians, ad nauseum. The other two out of three articles are links to stories in established journalism, which happen to reinforce the blogger's pet cause, with a triumphalist post which basically says, "See! SEE! I was right."

WTF (1)

jim_v2000 (818799) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522398)

I understand that Abramoff gave money to Republicans, and some of his clients gave money to Democrats. Now what I don't understand is what the big deal is. Why are his contributions any different than any other lobbyist? I thought this stuff went on all the time with all kinds of lobbyists...?

Not that I'm saying that something wrong wasn't done...but I just don't understand what was wrong, or why this particular case is such a big deal. Could someone explain?

Re:Get the facts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14522467)

a Republican talking point (i.e. lie) that Democrats were just as guilty of taking tainted Abramoff money as Republicans
Hrm, let's take a look at the guiltiest parties, shall we?

Tom DeLay (R-TX)
Bob Ney (R-OH)
Tom Feeney, III (R-FL)
Richard Pombo (R-CA)
Mike Ferguson (R-NJ)
Conrad Burns (R-MT)
John Cornyn (R-TX)
David Vitter (R-LA)
Charles Grassley (R-IA)
Tom Harkin (D-IA)
Byron Dorgan (D-ND)
Harry Reid (D-NV)
And, gee, notice how the Democrats on the list are more senior? It's almost as if he was pandering to power! Considering Republicans are in almost complete power, it makes sense, from a lobbiest perspective: get as many from the party in power in your pocket as you can, and get the minority parties' leaders. Best bang for your buck, so to speak.

So, yeah. The Dems are *TOTALLY* less guilty... (That was sarcasm)

If this upsets them... (3, Funny)

mtrupe (156137) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522017)

They wouldn't last 2 minutes posting and editing at Slashot! GNAA, Goatse... They'd flip! :-)

Re:If this upsets them... (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522081)

They wouldn't last 2 minutes posting and editing at Slashot! GNAA, Goatse... They'd flip! :-)

Yeah, but then unlike the Post, Slashdot is primarily a big biased blog and a few editors who pick stories at random without checking them. Not that there's anything wrong with that, it's entertaining enough, but it's no journalism.

The actual comments (5, Informative)

xochipili (160669) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522024)

Looks to me like the comments, archived at the URL below, while biting and harsh, were not "hate speech" and had almost zero profanity:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/archive/2006/ wapo/ [democratic...ground.com]

Tame compared to an average Fark thread. (1)

C10H14N2 (640033) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522068)

There must have been one on the same subject to compare to.

Obviously, yes, there are different standards as last I checked the Washington Post does not print a "Boobies" or "Weiners" section, not that there's anything wrong with that...

Re:The actual comments (1)

cavemanf16 (303184) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522144)

Agreed. Looks more like us on /. bashing michael and katz for their ranting and retarded "opinion" articles that are nothing but fluff and stupidity. Hopefully this DOES set a precedent for the major newspapers (along with the debacle regarding the recent misreporting of all 12 miners being ALIVE. OOooops!): hire REPORTERS, not regurgitation machines.

Sadly, as we have seen before, you can lie for 20yrs and still get promoted at even the largest newspapers in the country. Truth is not their forte. (Sorry, missing the accented 'e', I know.)

Re:The actual comments (1)

Prairiewest (719875) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522166)

Looks to me like the comments, archived at the URL below, while biting and harsh, were not "hate speech" and had almost zero profanity: http://www.democraticunderground.com/archive/2006/ wapo/ [democratic...ground.com]
Wow, that's a great link, thanks! Yes, I did read TFA, and they say that the public comments on Deborah's blog were "vitriolic". No, they aren't! (go read the article, and then read the user comments at that link) They're simply challenging Deborah, asking her to back up her journalism. That's quite the spin they put on this.

Re:The actual comments (3, Insightful)

crmartin (98227) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522192)

They talk about that at WaPo. What you're seeing is the outcome AFTER they spent hours trying to delete the worst stuff as fast as it ws coming in.

Nice to see the Dems growing some nads (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522501)

It was good seeing Democrats growing some stones for a change. I thought for a long time they were taking the right wing hate speech and slander way too lightly. One party has to be the adult but there's a difference between taking the high road and being a doormat. Nobody likes a puss, even if they're right. So it's nice to see the Dems showing some indignation over something.

Maybe this Abramoff deal will light a fire under people finally.

From my reading, the ombudsman was the problem (5, Interesting)

Dark Paladin (116525) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522032)

First - ever think that the primary job of the ombudsman is to find somebody a Bud when things get bad?

Second - it seems that most of the anger was from a comment that tied Abramoff to both democrats and republicans. Republicans, of course, want to say it's a problem for both sides - the old "Well, don't get mad at us - we were both bad!"

Democrats get mad at that because Abramoff evidently never *directly* gave money to any Democrats. Note the use of the word "directly", since Abramoff's firm *did* give money to some Dems, but nobody's found a Dem that got money right from Abramoff unlike some Repubs.

So now you get one side pissed off because of a percieved inaccuracy (and literally, they are right), and the other side feeling like they have to defend themselves (which they should), and then it's a flame war and OMG! LIKE THE END of the WORLD or something! Oh noes! Teh internets are on FIRE!

Either way, it seems like the Post just didn't handle their filter system. Slashdot and Digg and Kero5hin and a few others have the "self modifying system" - things like "anonymous users get lower views than registered users", "users can label people flamers/spammers/etc". The Post should have put that in first, or just put comments in a separate area so regular readers wouldn't be plagued by Dem and Repub fankids on either side mucking up the issue. Now, they have to throw away the baby with the bathwater (which is too bad, because babies don't like getting thrown into the dumpster. Or so I've heard.)

Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.

Re:From my reading, the ombudsman was the problem (5, Interesting)

orthogonal (588627) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522221)

Democrats get mad at that because Abramoff evidently never *directly* gave money to any Democrats. Note the use of the word "directly", since Abramoff's firm *did* give money to some Dems, but nobody's found a Dem that got money right from Abramoff unlike some Repubs.


Close but not quite.

Abramoff didn't give to democrats, and neither did his firm.

Some of Abramoff's clients gave to Democrats. and after Abramoff began representing those clients, they generally gave less than the previously had to democrats, and more to Republicans (no doubt on the advice of Jack Abramoff).

Now, I'm not claiming the democrats are pure as the driven snow, just that Abramoff was -- from his days in the College Republicans -- someone who benefited from Republicans and in turn benefited Republicans.

Abramoff is about pervasive corruption in the Republican Party.


The sad thing is this: I believe many (not all, but many) of the Republicans who made up Newt Gingrinch's "revolution" in 1994, who put together the "Contract With America -- I believe many of them started out as idealistic, honest men who genuinely wanted to reform Washington DC.

But they got captured by the system. They had to become perpetual fundraisers to keep their seats, so they ended up spending nearly every day (really, ask any politician of staffer) begging rich people and rich corporations for money. After a while, that has to get to someone, even if -- especially if -- he's an honest guy who is living in a tiny DC apartment because he still has a mortgage back in his home district.

Everyday the congressman begs for money, and everyday he votes for millions and billions of dollars in appropriations. Eventually, these guys crack, and decide they want a piece of the pie too.

We have to change the system. We have too -- as the real conservatives tell us -- shrink government. and we have to provide for public funding of campaigns, so politicians don't have to beg for money and become beholden.

Re:From my reading, the ombudsman was the problem (1)

tenchiken (22661) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522400)

Try again, and try to be less partisan. Abramoff's client's donations are the primary issue in both the RNC and the DNC. While about 2/3rds have gone to republicans, the remaining one third contains almost half a million dollar to the Democratic parts, and more then 50,000 to Senate Minority Leader Reid (which puts him the in the top 10).

Re:From my reading, the ombudsman was the problem (1)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522417)

Jeez. Are you my long lost twin brother [slashdot.org] or something? ;)

(You actually posted first, but I was still writing my response when you hit submit. ;) )

Re:From my reading, the ombudsman was the problem (1)

tenchiken (22661) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522432)

As for the rest of your agument, I agree completly. Watch the Republican elections, I think you will see the "true" conservitives take more back in terms of bushing for smaller, more acountable government. But until we have real strong and restricted term limits, it won't happen.

Now, given this story, I am sure I will get modded down by people who don't want to hear that the Democrats and Republicans are corrupt. The difference will be that /.'s moderation system will be used to supress the comment rather then curse words.

Re:From my reading, the ombudsman was the problem (5, Insightful)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522346)

So now you get one side pissed off because of a percieved inaccuracy (and literally, they are right), and the other side feeling like they have to defend themselves (which they should), and then it's a flame war and OMG! LIKE THE END of the WORLD or something!

For disclosure: I tend to lean leftwards, and most of the time will side with Ds over Rs. With that in mind, this is an example of how trying to go the middle route can leave you with the wrong idea.

Yes, it's true that some of Abramoff's clients (specifically, I'm referring to the Indian tribes involved in the Casino scandal) donated money to Democrats. However, that's neither surprising nor even suspect, although many find it distateful. After all, the tribes are one of the parties which apparently got bilked by Abramaoff.

The issue is that Abramoff seems to have been involved in money-laundering and outright vote-buying schemes. These activities seem to have included Republicans, and only Republicans. And before I'm accused of partisan Republican bashing, reflect for a second on why the dirty parties might all happen to be Republicans in this case:

1. Jack Abramoff is a die-hard, lifelong Republican. Why would he be funneling money to the other side?
2. The Republicans control the House, Senate, and White House. Why would you funnel money to someone who can't deliver what you need?

The sad truth of the matter is that the current state of affairs can be traced back to the Congressional ascendency of the Republican Party back in 94. Tom DeLay (you may have heard of him [google.com] ?) then started the "K Street Project," in which lobbyists were pressured to hire Republicans (and only Republicans) if they wanted access to party leaders, and to give money to Republicans (and only Republicans). Since that sort of political patronage is the lifesblood of Washington, it wasn't too long before the Democrats were more or less frozen out of the process.

Anyhoo: The Washington Post actually does have a quick primer [washingtonpost.com] on the project up. But for consistantly good reporting on the subject from an honest to god journalist who knows how to keep a good blog, you should check out Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo [talkingpointsmemo.com] . (Warning: Marshall is pretty obivously anti-Republican, but he's also pretty obviously completely fair in his reporting. Once you get around the sarcasm.)

Re:From my reading, the ombudsman was the problem (2, Insightful)

tenchiken (22661) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522464)

So the $500,000 To democrats, and the $50,000 to Harry Reid were just business as usual? For that matter, the entire rise of K street under the Clinton Administration was accidental?

There is no doubt that the Republicans need to clean ship, before the next election, or the voters will do it for them. But for Democrats to act like they arn't also affect by this, didn't go to the Signature resturant, or didn't stop by the sky boxes is pushing truth past the spin zone.

It wasn't that.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14522042)

there was a bunch of hate speech that made them shut down the comments, but rather, Howell claimed Democracts took money from Abramoff directly (they didn't, though, some of Abramoff's clients ALSO donated directly to democracts -- the clients being the same people Abramoff is accused of DEFRAUDING).

When confronted with the above, Howell defended her position and said "Democrats took money!" and refused to provide backup data or proof, which then turned into, "Oh, so you're a worthless piece of shit 'journalist', we get it." from the community.

Will this dissuade news sites from blogging... (4, Funny)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522051)

We can only hope.

Moderators? (1)

fak3r (917687) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522053)

Really, this issue has come up before and handled in a myrid of ways. From having the content scanned for profanity before posting (easy to get around I know, but still), or a simple moderator setup. Post is added, email goes to moderator who reviews it and publishes it or not. Then close comments for a story a few days/week later so the moderator can focus on a new story.

Why is it that professioal corps can't deal with things like this, but geeks running their own websites have been handling things like this for years?

Never Quote Facts.... (0, Troll)

sycodon (149926) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522056)

...to the wacky left. It drives them around the bend.

Re:Never Quote Facts.... (1, Interesting)

HooliganIntellectual (856868) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522145)

Those of us on the "whacky left" are far more interested in facts and reasonable discussion than most of the right wing, which relies on a steady diet of whacky stuff from Limbaugh, Savage and others of their ilk.

What amuses some of us is when right wingers call us liberals when we aren't liberals are are quite critical of liberals.

But hey, when the right wing thinks that anybody to the left of Bill O'Reilly is a liberal, it's pretty pointless to discuss facts with them. You can't even talk to them. Just avoid them and keep them on the other side of the fence.

Re:Never Quote Facts.... (0, Flamebait)

sycodon (149926) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522216)

Yeah, the DU is a treasure trove of reason and measured arguments. No one there talking about Chocolate cities or calling Bush a Nazi. Nope, just a bunch of reasonable people with differing opinions.

Re:Never Quote Facts.... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14522275)

Those of us on the "whacky left" are far more interested in facts and reasonable discussion than most of the right wing, which relies on a steady diet of whacky stuff from Limbaugh, Savage and others of their ilk.

I'm a liberal, but that is an outrageous sweeping generalization about people that disagree with you, with which you put yourself in the group not interested in facts an reasonable discussions. Unless you have solid undisputable facts and reason to back up the claim that _most_ of the right wing are far less interested in facts and reasonable discussion than the "wacky left". You certainly presented nothing else than an inflammatory fact less claim, not unlike what you criticize others for.

Re:Never Quote Facts.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14522494)

It's hard to believe that those idiots didn't have moderated comments, anyways. I'm surprised more people haven't flamed them with unreasonable garbage since there is no review before posting.

Reviewing before posting is so darn simple to use - why wouldn't they use it? I couldn't imagine their blogs are that wildly popular.

Amazing how the NY Times is able to "deal with it" but the Post just crumbles and removes the blog. Idiots.

Re:Never Quote Facts.... (2, Insightful)

pomo monster (873962) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522198)

Yeah, seriously. I'll never know what so enrages them when we teach our children the fact that God created the universe 6,000 years ago. Or the fact that homosexuals are child molesters by nature. Or the fact that we were greeted as liberators.

Re:Never Quote Facts.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14522456)

Ooh. Scarcasm. You, sir, have a rapist wit! I bet the irony of my prior sentence even escapes you...

I do, however, agree with 2 out of 3 of your facts. You're so clever. You deduce which 2.

She was caught with her pants down, so to speak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14522061)

I think that's the real problem.
Being very "liberal" with the truth isn't a good thing in a case like this.

http://mediamatters.org/items/200601180006 [mediamatters.org]
http://mediamatters.org/items/200601100008 [mediamatters.org]
http://mediamatters.org/items/200601100004 [mediamatters.org]

Re:She was caught with her pants down, so to speak (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14522089)

Hahaha fuck that cunt!

Cache of all the original comments (1, Redundant)

urine (947631) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522063)

The thoroughly nonpartisan *cough!* democratic underground has a cache of all the original comments [democratic...ground.com] before the board was shut down. Frankly, it looks to me like the Washington Post's omsbusdman (woman) got her panties in a knit not over harsh comments, but over her unwillingness to respond to substantiative errors in her post.

Hackers (1)

Ribbo.com (885396) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522073)

Maybe they got hacked by the same guys from 2 articles ago :-)

Different from hate "snail" mail? (2, Insightful)

Brown Eggs (650559) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522080)

Most of these journalists probably used to recieve a handful of actual letters detailing how stupid their article was back in the pre-web days. Really the only difference here is the volume and the anonymity (boy that doesn't look spelled right). Even if they were particularly nasty before, I doubt the editors or the powers that be ever decided to yank the articles. Don't see why it should be any different now. That being said, I know when someone posts mean things about me on a message board I curl into a little ball under my desk and cry.

Re:Different from hate "snail" mail? (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522281)

Pshh. You don't know much about it. If people don't like a reporters articles, they get threats, nasty phone calls, nasty emails, nasty phone calls to their house, lawsuits, political strongarming, the works. People take it out on your fricking kids. The only reason I bother to own a gun is because my wife's a reporter...It's a hell of a lot more likely that someone comes gunning for her because of something she wrote, than any other home defense scenario.

Reporters are generally pretty thick-skinned about stuff like that; it's a hazard of the trade, when you may have to write something nasty about someone you consider to be a friend. And reading /. should tell you how bad people can be...I get crap all the time from wankers who think that my holding a belief different from theirs means I'm deserving of serious abuse.

Reporters get that same crap all the time, email, snail mail, and phone, and there isn't any "anonymous" when you're a reporter...Your name and picture are right out there, so you'll get people up in your face in the grocery store, especially if you weigh in on anything remotely political. God forbid you write about global warming, abortion, or the death penalty.

I don't know why they pulled it, but if they pulled it because the chick who wrote it got her feelings hurt I'll be blown away. I can't imagine someone that thin skinned and/or naive working at the Post...That's a prestigious newspaper; you have to be a badass, and have years of experience to get a job there. More likely the tone of the discourse horrified the pointy hairs, and they pulled it so there wouldn't be profanity on their website.

Yes, censorship is still bad. (1)

Maggott (849849) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522085)

There are arguments that can be made about keeping their customer base happy by baleeting bad language and there are arguments that can be made about them maintaining a professional atmosphere (i.e. deleting things they don't like) but my personal experience is that people who vet for "offensive content" usually don't. They vet for just plain-old content.

I've written many articles (mostly game review sites) that were deleted simply on the basis of them being negative. No swearwords or ASCII depictions of body parts, just well-reasoned thoughts that the moderator didn't think were valid points.

I'm tempted to submit a game review that gives a big-name game 10 out of 10 but has a detailed ASCII wang in the middle of it, just to see what happens...

But I digress.

I don't think it's ethical to provide a forum for public feedback and discussion and then censor it, flame-fests or not. If they don't want the flak that free speech brings them, they shouldn't have it in the first place.

Re:Yes, censorship is still bad. (1)

sphealey (2855) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522146)

=== maintaining a professional atmosphere (i.e. deleting things they don't like) ===
I read all 900 or so comments before they were deleted (600 in the first batch, which disappeared, and 300 in the second batch). Of those about 20-30 were offensive and deserved to be removed (if the message board was considered "edited").

The rest were in no way offensive or profane, but they were critical of the Washington Post, and provided factual backup for that criticism. That I think was the problem; the factual backup that is.

sPh

so what's the problem? (2, Insightful)

max born (739948) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522090)

Brady wrote that he had expected criticism of The Post on the site but that the public had violated rules against personal attacks and profanity.

Profanity? Wow, that's fucking serious.

What did he expect? Rather than shutting down why not set up a rating system like slashdot's so that trolls can be modded out of sight?

Re:so what's the problem? (2, Funny)

scanner_darkly (795083) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522199)

Profanity? Wow, that's fucking serious. Heh, sometimes the old jokes are the best. :)

Temporary Closing (2, Informative)

finelinebob (635638) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522093)

What TFA says and the summary misses is that closing the blog is in all likelihood a temporary closing. Jim Brady (the Post's website executive editor) is cited as saying that the barrage of tirades started eating up the time of two people just to keep deleting offensive posts, and that the blog will likely be reopened in the future.

So, what looks like it might be a case of self-censorship due to e-hooliganism is more of a sensible decision to cut the idiots off from their hate outlet and wait until they forget about the Post and focus on someone else instead.

Hijacked by Dan Rather (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14522104)

I think it was hijacked by Dan Rather, using a PC borrowed from his friend the "Bush is Awol" whistleblower. You know, a typical Pentium three-mhz machine running the 1971 version of Microsoft Office with an Applesoft compiled version of "Internet Explorer".

FAIR: The establishment's paper (0, Offtopic)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522112)

The Washington Post: The establishment's paper

By Doug Henwood [fair.org]

Don't get too far from the establishment.
--Walter Lippmann to Katharine Graham

File Lippmann's remark under the category of superfluous advice. Graham and the company of which she is "chairman"--she lists herself in the D.C. phone book as "Graham, Philip L. Mrs."--have never entertained a thought of straying from the establishment..

In 1933, when Graham's father, Eugene Meyer took control of the bankrupt Washington Post, it enjoyed only physical closeness to power. The paper badly needed the wealth and connections that Meyer had in spades: Over the years, he'd been a Wall Street banker, director of President Wilson's War Finance Corporation, a governor of the Federal Reserve, and director of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. And Meyer wanted a soapbox. "People like to be told what to think," he once said, happy to oblige.

After World War II, when Harry Truman named this lifelong Republican as first president of the World Bank, Meyer made his son-in-law, Philip L. Graham, publisher of the paper. Meyer stayed at the Bank for only six months and returned to the Post as its chairman. But with Phil Graham in charge, there was little for Meyer to do. He transferred ownership to Philip and Katharine Graham, and retired.

Phil Graham maintained Meyer's intimacy with power. Like many members of his class and generation, his postwar view was shaped by his work in wartime intelligence; a classic Cold War liberal, he was uncomfortable with McCarthy, but quite friendly with the personnel and policies of the CIA. He saw the role of the press as mobilizing public assent for policies made by his Washington neighbors; the public deserved to know only what the inner circle deemed proper. According to Howard Bray's Pillars of the Post, Graham and other top Posters knew details of several covert operations--including advance knowledge of the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion--which they chose not to share with their readers.

When the manic-depressive Graham shot himself in 1963, the paper passed to his widow, Katharine. Though out of her depth at first, her instincts were safely establishmentarian. According to Deborah Davis' biography, Katharine the Great, Mrs. Graham was scandalized by the cultural and political revolutions of the 1960s, and wept when LBJ fused to run for reelection in 1968. (After Graham asserted that the book as "fantasy," Harcourt Brace Jovanovich pulled 20,000 copies of Katharine the Great in 1979. The book as re-issued by National Press in 87.)

The Post was one of the last major papers to turn against the Vietnam War. Even today, it hews to a hard foreign policy line--usually to the right of The New York Times, a paper not known or having transcended the Cold War.

There was Watergate, of course, that model of aggressive reporting ed by the Post. But even here, Graham's Post was doing the establishment's work. As Graham herself said, the investigation couldn't have succeeded without the cooperation of people inside the government willing to talk to Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.

These talkers may well have included the CIA; it's widely suspected that Deep Throat was an Agency man (or men). Davis argues that Post editor Ben Bradlee knew Deep Throat, and may even have set him up with Woodward. She produces evidence that in the early 1950s, Bradlee crafted propaganda for the CIA on the Rosenberg case for European consumption. Bradlee denies working "for" the CIA, though he admits having worked for the U.S. Information Agency--perhaps distinction without a difference.

In any case, it's clear that a major portion of the establishment wanted Nixon out. Having accomplished this, there was little taste for further crusading. Nixon had denounced the Post as "Communist" during the 1950s. Graham offered her support to Nixon upon his election in 1968, but he snubbed her, even directing his allies to challenge the Post Co.'s TV license in Florida a few ears later. The Reagans were a different story--for one thing, Ron's crowd knew that seduction was a better way to get good press than hostility. According to Nancy Reagan's memoirs, Graham welcomed Ron and Nancy to her Georgetown house in 1981 with a kiss. During the darkest days of Iran-Contra, Graham and Post editorial page editor Meg GreenfieId--lunch and phone companions to Nancy throughout the Reagan years--offered the First Lady frequent expressions of sympathy. Graham and the establishment never got far from the Gipper.

War on Labor

The president who smashed the air traffic controllers union (PATCO) in 1981 took a page from Graham's book. (See "Washington Post Labor Struggles," Extra! , May/June 1989.) A Post reporter, Peter Perl, researching a story on union-busting consultants, was told by a practitioner that his paper was "a leader in the field." When he attended one of the anti-union classes, Perl found four Post execs as fellow students.

As Davis tells it, shortly after Graham took over the Post, Jack Patterson, a veteran newspaper executive, offered the following advice: Use rewards and punishment to pit workers against each other; take union officers into your confidence and give them a taste of privilege; automate, and bring in nonunion workers to operate the new machines; and treat journalists as professionals, thereby causing them to compete with each other, killing whatever interest they had in such odd blue-collar notions as solidarity. This latter idea dovetailed nicely with Bradlee's Hobbesian strategy for running the newsroom: "creative tension." Only the strong survive this war of each against all, a style called "hairy-chested journalism" by macho Posters.

Graham, who handed out garment workers' union literature in her college days, broke the press workers' union in 1975 by provoking a strike and putting out the paper with scab labor and out-of-town contractors. Other blue-collar unions, tamed by this example, have accepted job-eliminating automation quietly.

Fresh from this victory, the paper instituted a two-tier system, in which all news-room workers hired after 1977 are paid an average of $200 a week less than pre-1977 hires. According to the Newspaper Guild, this arrangement saves the Post about $1.5 million a year, about 1% of pretax profits, or enough to pay Kay Graham's salary for 15 months.

The Guild, which represents about 40% of the paper's 2,000 employees in news, circulation and advertising, had worked without a contract from July 1986 to August 1989, a tense interval that reporter and Guild activist Frank Swoboda called "one of the most bizarre labor relations environments I've ever seen, and I've covered labor for 35 years." Union sources speculate that the Post Co. management finally tired of warfare and decided to sign a five-year contract, which included a no strike pledge, the first in the Guild's 51 years at the paper.

Even though Graham runs around the country preaching the need for day care, she still refuses to grant her employees this benefit, And the Post still refuses to pay reporters overtime--something most big papers do. The Guild has filed suit over the matter.

The contract did address a long-standing Guild complaint--the huge spread between low- and high-paid workers. But even after a disproportionate raise for the low-end employees, the Post's minimum salary for reporters is still $250 per week below that of The New York Times. Unsurprisingly, the ranks of the low-paid are heavily female and nonwhite. According to the union, women reporters make $121 a week less than men, and black women make $172 a week less than white men. If circulation and advertising workers are included, the gaps are even wider, with black women making an average of $332 a week less than white men.

The Post says this is the result of its aggressive affirmative action policies--non white non-males are more recent hires than white men, so the salary differentials are just an artifact of relative tenure. The Guild says its figures are adjusted for experience. The matter will be adjudicated by the D.C. Office of Human Rights, where the Guild has filed a complaint against the Post.

Despite the normalization of labor relations, in late November the Post ceased to allow union representatives into the building on routine business, a privilege it grants to advertisers, and refuses to allow the union to hold meetings on the premises, a privilege it grants to virtual strangers.

Money Machine

Graham is reportedly fond of saying hat "unions interfere with freedom of he press." A more likely explanation or her hostility to labor can be found in the Post Co.'s financial performance.

The Post Co. is consistently one of he most profitable publishers in the business. According to the Newspaper Guild, the Post earned a profit of $42,700 per employee in 1988, the highest of any newspaper, well ahead of the second-place Dow Jones($25,200) and the #3 New York Times($15,800), and four times the national average of $11,000.

The Post's newspaper profits fell lightly from 1987 to 1988, the result mainly of higher newsprint prices (partly offset by the Post Co.'s interests in two paper mills) and severance payments to redundant typographers and mailers. Though advertising income has slowed for most papers, the Post has bucked the national trend--important to a company that earns 70% of its revenue from advertisers.

Over the years, the Post's competitors have all died, leaving the paper as a virtual monopoly in a virtually recession- proof, newspaper-dependent city. (The Moonie-owned Washington Times is the only competition.) The daily paper reaches 55% of the potential D.C. market--74% on Sunday--well above national big-city averages of 22% and 29% respectively.

Owning a network-affiliated TV station is a license to print money, and the Post Co.'s stations are no exception. Like many broadcasters, rather than worry about the potential competition from cable, the Post Co. has gotten into the business. While only half as profitable as broadcast TV, Post-Newsweek Cable is nothing to sneeze at. Newsweek is the least profitable realm in the Post Co.'s empire--partly because it faces something newspapers are unfamiliar with, competition. (The New Temperance has also hurt; ads for smokes and drinks take up less than a third as many pages as they did a decade ago.) To beef up the magazine's relatively anemic profit figures, management has been managing "intensively," as an admiring Merrill Lynch analyst put it: continuing a multiyear strategy of reducing staff, and, more recently, relocating back office workers from high-rent Manhattan to low-rent New Jersey. Relentless application of the knife has taken its toll on morale; a Guild member at the Post said he was glad he didn't work at Newsweek, an extraordinary remark given the environment of his own shop.

At the end of 1988, the Post Co. had $300 million in cash on hand, twice its long-term debt. The newspaper might need a new plant sometime soon, but that would hardly put a dent in the company's wallet. The cable TV operations completed major rebuilds in recent years, so their capital requirements are minimal. If the price of TV stations comes down from the stratosphere, the Post Co. might pick one up.

Management can think of little better to do with its money than buy back its own stock--which didn't stop the Post from demanding that its Guild employees start paying for part of their health insurance. With the company firmly in the hands of the Graham clan, it doesn't even have to worry about a hostile takeover from Rupert Murdoch. No wonder the Post isn't interested in rocking the establishment's boat. Doug Henwood is the editor of the Left Business Observer.

Fundamental problems (5, Interesting)

sphealey (2855) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522113)

There may have been some profanity and unacceptable insults in those comments. It takes me 30-45 seconds each morning and afternoon to clear similar out of my inbox, so I am not sure what the big problem was for the WaPo.com site managers. Most of the original comments can be found here [blogspot.com] if you are interested.

But there were also two fundamental problems: (1) The Washington Post has printed demontrable factually incorrect statements concerning Abramoff, a lifelong Republican and key friend/confident of Grover Norquist, giving money to Democrats - which he did not (2) both the WaPo and WaPo.com (note: two different entities) utterly refusing to engage this question any any level. The closest they have come is to admit that their articles were "inartful" - when they were in fact wrong.

It is like the old problem with taking quality surveys: if you take a survey, and then don't do anything, your customers are left angrier than they were before. WaPo.com solicited feedback, received it, and then cold-shouldered its readers. Guess what the reaction was.

sPh

how to take care of comments (1)

geekpuppySEA (724733) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522114)

DCist had a good suggestion: Maybe the WaPo could consider a process to monitor comments and removing them one by one... using this magic resource called INTERNS.

you do *not* know all the comments (5, Informative)

syrinx (106469) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522127)

Some people are posting "oh the comments weren't so bad" with a link to whatever used to be posted.

That's because the comments you see being posted on other sites isn't really what they were concerned about. Of course, most people posting this apparently read DemocraticUnderground, so it's not really worth responding to them, but just in case anyone else falls for it.

Here's a link to discussion with the executive editor of the Post website:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discu ssion/2006/01/20/DI2006012000566.html [washingtonpost.com]

See in particular:

Pensacola, Fla.: After reading the over 400 of the comments in question, which by the way, were saved by someone before they were removed, I saw no hate speech, one four letter word, and I can't imagine what you found so offensive as to remove them. Could you please explain exactly what problem you had with them?

Jim Brady: You were reading the ones that were posted live. There were a few hundred others that were removed the site altogether, and those would not be on the page you're looking at.


and:

Jim Brady: As I said earlier, that screen shot is only what was live, not what we blocked. There's no way for you to see what we blocked, and you should be happy about that, believe me. I learned some new words this week.

Of course, this is obviously spoken like someone who has never read Slashdot at -1. :)

Re:you do *not* know all the comments (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522499)

There's no way for you to see what we blocked, and you should be happy about that, believe me.
I bet it involves aliens. You know, space aliens. God bless them for protecting us.

Entertainment. (1)

In Fraudem Legis (937585) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522128)

It's quite amusing to follow the so called "sandbox games".

What we need . . . (2, Interesting)

Council (514577) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522131)

It seems that the services shut down were user-comment driven. Presumably there's no problem with setting up a blog in the I-post-things-and-you-read-them sense. This was more of a wiki/message board. This is yet another argument for slashdot-style moderation. Why hasn't it caught on elsewhere?

A while back I was calling for the creation of a service that would create a slashdot-style thread corresponding to any website, which would be viewable in a browser frame at the bottom as you browsed. The site itself would in no way support or give permission for this -- it would be entirely independent. You'd just click the button on the bottom of your browser and view the thread for the page. This would be an incredibly useful service, and I almost guarentee that it will exist before too long. Imagine being able to read slashdot-type threads on any news story, immediately see feedback on any website deal, online store, or interesting site you run into on. Wanna know if it's a scam? Check what people are saying about it.

Basically, this is a wikipedia with an entry for every website, with the information in the form of moderated posts (which is much better if you want to avoid having information deleted; people can only respond and moderate, not edit.)

There is absolutely no technical barrier to it, someone just has to make it. I've taken a few cracks at it but I'm not a programmer and don't really know how to do this. If one of you builds it, they will come.

With moderation, the problems described in the Washington Post story could fade to the background, and suddenly every website and major news story would have blog comment threads attached. It would be valuable in the same way that Slashdot, Wikipedia, del.icio.us, and blogs on the whole are -- that is, it would show you what other people have to say about a topic, and it would fit perfectly around the structure of the web.

Someone build this, then in time add paid services, and get rich. I just want to use it.

Re:What we need . . . (1)

Blink Tag (944716) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522453)

I've seen/read about several Firefox extensions designed to allow something quite similar. A quick search turned up "Purple Bunny" ( https://addons.mozilla.org/extensions/moreinfo.php ?id=1098&application=firefox [mozilla.org] ), and I've seen others come and go.

I've not used any extensions of this type, and make no claim to their value. Be creative with Google, and you're bound to find more.

-1 Flaimbait (1)

dwayner79 (880742) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522142)

Guess they did not have the old -1 Flaimbait.

Which web has he been browsing? (3, Funny)

Logic Bomb (122875) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522157)

The article quotes the executive editor of the paper's website:

"Transparency and reasoned debate are crucial parts of the Web culture"

I'm sorry, you must be new here. Reasoned debate?!?!

made up story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14522178)

She shouldn't make up stories about democrats because republicans are in the toilet.

Ombudsman... (-1, Offtopic)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522194)

A position involving meditation, beer, and something called "sman"...

Who wants to bet... (1, Insightful)

NeuroManson (214835) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522204)

It was done by Freepers, www.freerepublic.com? Sounds like the sort of thing they would (and have) done.

I'll take the bet (1)

toupsie (88295) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522434)

It was done by Freepers, www.freerepublic.com? Sounds like the sort of thing they would (and have) done.

In our society, extremism is an equal opportunity disease that infects both sides of the bird.

Re:Who wants to bet... (1)

coastin (780654) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522479)

Looks like it could be an attack of the "freepers".

Cool Sig you have there!

Shoes for the dead...

Re:Who wants to bet... (1)

tenchiken (22661) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522502)

How on earth is this modded insightful? Only in /.'s warped mindthink would this be considered a intellegent comment. Can we either not post political arguments on slashdot, or have a moderating system that doesn't encourage people to express their political preferences in the form of moderation points?

Or are slashdotters really delusional enough to think that only republicans troll, and nothing from the left can possibly insulting and wrong? It's that kind of narrow scope of vision that I have no doubt infected the trolls that hit the site listed above.

The funny part (1)

dsgitl (922908) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522217)

The funniest, if not stupidest, part in the whole episode is that it has lead the Washington Post's ombudsman -- the ombudsman! -- to say the following: "From now on, I don't reply."

So the Post's supposed reader liason has just said she is no longer interested in doing her job. Great.

Something about... (1)

neocon (580579) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522260)

... DemocraticUnderground accusing the Washington Post (of all papers!) of having a pro-Republican bias smacks of the old adage that ``if you think everyone in the world is out to get you, you may be the one with the problem''.

That, as has been repeatedly pointed out, DU posted the post-filtering comment log as evidence that no offensive comments had been posted just makes the whole thing sweeter, of course.

Re:Something about... (1)

makomk (752139) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522468)

That, as has been repeatedly pointed out, DU posted the post-filtering comment log as evidence that no offensive comments had been posted just makes the whole thing sweeter, of course.

Remember, the Washington Post didn't just block new comments - they deleted all the existing "inoffensive" already-filtered comments too. If DU didn't post them up, some interesting comments would've disappeared into the ether...

Too close to a nerve (1)

Oldsmobile (930596) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522288)

I guess it is finally coming to the open, the long held big secret, that politics in the USA is eicredibly corrupt. I guess any republicans critical of the Abramoff affair have a point -of sorts; democrats are just as corrupt, they just haven't been caught yet.

The US really needs a reset of the political system, and lucky us, the Bush administration is going to provide us with one. By making the USA into some kind of banana republic dictatorship, politics won't matter anymore!

Any one want to bet who the next president is going to be? I'm putting my money on G. W. Bush.

Denial (1)

pHatidic (163975) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522295)

If we can't hear our customers telling us how much our product sucks, our product must not suck.

/head buried in sand

Hot off the presses ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14522297)

... all anonymous posters that upset the Washington Post are now sitting in jail.

context... (1)

Apostata (390629) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522307)

This may help some people understand the nature of the dissent, albeit from a less than neutral stance: http://mediamatters.org/ [mediamatters.org] . If it's off the main page, look under Abrahamoff. I do not, however, advocate Media Matters, other than for a 'point of view'.

Section 113 editorial (3, Interesting)

randyjg2 (772752) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522311)

Personally, I find it even more interesting that it comes a few days after the passing of the e-annoynance act (section 113 of the Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act.) that says anonymous annoying e mail is a crime. (I wonder if that applies to campaign literature?)

I wonder what the odds are that the closing of that blog is going to show up as amicus curia briefs when challenges to the legality of section 113 are heard in court?

I was brought up in a era when journalists were some of the most respected people around. I really miss those times.

When I realize that the most respected journalist today by far is Jon Stewart, I wonder how we can sue the journalism schools for polluting the media. Not that I don't think Jon isn't a great comedian, and, actually, a pretty good journalist, but he and Amoss (whose a publisher, not a journalist) seem to be the only two ones who still believe in journalism.

Journalism has occupied an important place in our society since prehistoric times, it is sad to see it dying so ignomious a death. I would have expected there would be at least a few reporters who still respected thier profession enough to at least go down fighting.

You mean the Post has never heard of ..... (2, Insightful)

i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522314)

comment moderation? Newspapers don't publish every single letter that gets sent to them so I'm not sure why ever comment posted needs to even be published. Oh yeah I know someone is going to say that's abridging someone's speech but fuck it...It's a blog, not a democracy.

News sites might stop blogging? (1)

pestie (141370) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522316)

Will this dissuade news sites from blogging in the future?

Christ, I hope so!

Laws of Blophysics (1)

DysenteryInTheRanks (902824) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522319)

Bummer. Too bad it is physically impossible to publish a blog without a commenting feature. If only there was a way!

duh, hire interns to remove offensive material? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14522326)

Gee I guess it would be too hard to add like a 20 min. delay before a comment is posted and to hire 4 interns to read and remove offensive or slanderous material.

99% of blogging is garbage (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522332)

I never read the growing blog sections of newspapers because it is so poor. There is no editorial filter on accuracy or quality of writing.
The few blogs I read are almost always professional writers who comment on web pages as a sideline.

Makes me wonder (1)

MAXOMENOS (9802) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522354)

How much business did Jack Abramoff do on behalf of WPO?

makes her job easier (2, Insightful)

itcomesinwaves (890751) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522405)

Just in case anyone was wondering, it's the job of the ombudsman to deal with complaints. At a newspaper they are also meant to review the paper's reporting. So this lady makes an glaring inaccurate statement (which it is her job to guard against) and when met with the initial round of complaints she defends the statement, which causes further (more outraged) complaints. What does the lady do (remember it's her job to deal with reader complaints)? She freaks out and shuts down the comments. I can kind of understand a normal reporter not wanting to deal with complaints, but it's her job! In this case being thin-skinned == being under-qualified for the position.

Who cares? (1)

penguin-collective (932038) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522412)

As far as I'm concerned, the NYT and Washington Post are obsolete.

Respect (1)

AviLazar (741826) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522444)

What kind of precedent does this set for other mainstream news sites? What we'd consider a normal day around here has to look fairly intimidating to the average newspaper editor

It is about respect. You can voice your opinions without resorting to disrespectful attitudes (i.e. racism, slander, profanity, etc.). Compared to the rest of the net, /. is pretty tame - yea sometimes we act up, but nothing that major. It is their blog, and if they want to take it down because various bad apples are spreading their poison then so be it. Freedom of speech is paramount - it is tantamount - and in our society it is an absolute right - many even saying it is a divine/natural right....however, given our planet and that some countries do not have this right - we should honor it and respect it. And just because we are allowed to open our mouths and let them flap, does not remove our responsibility from making what we say/write be respectful towards others.

They did what they had to do.

Odd (1)

flibuste (523578) | more than 8 years ago | (#14522463)

I find it odd that people post hateful comments or other more moderated comments denying facts that have appeared in many other newspapers, including some overseas (that this Abramoff guy is known as an all-out lobbyist who gets and throws money at anything that can make him richer or bribe someone to that affect, like it's just eyecandies) and that a blog has to be turned off for saying what everyone knows since a while.

Apparently, it's also easy for lobbyists and their friends to bark on a blog and have it shut down.

I should try with every blog saying GW is a nice buddy

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