Sunday, July 7, 2013
A journalistic dilemma
So here's a journalistic dilemma you can comment on in real time. Usually, the comments are shut off after my column, because it's a full-time job to kick the wackos off -- not my call, the paper's. But today's piece on Muslim prayer and Ramadan (posted below) is not a column, it's an article, and the comments section is in full cry, from haters and head cases, denouncing both Muslims ("Muslim = Terrorist") and myself (drunk, wife-beater).
My first thought was to ask the paper to take the hurtful remarks down -- why should Muslims, reading a nice piece about their big holiday, be subjected to this poisonous spew?
But then I considered: Muslims certainly know those sentiments are out there, and maybe even common. This isn't news to them. So maybe it isn't they who are really being shielded, but we, non-Muslim readers, who would prefer not to gaze at the nauseating bigotry of our fellows.
So I thought, "best to leave it up. Let 'em look at it."
This problem is nothing new -- more and more news sites shut off comments, because people are vile will ridicule a 6-year-old hit by a bus. But these comments are up, at least for now, and leaving them up is a conscious journalistic decision. Right call? Wrong call? What do you think?