Sunday, May 06, 2007

CBSNews.com: Racists Bum Rushed the Show

"Too Black. Too Strong." -- Public Enemy, It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back

From CBS News:
Today CBSNews.com informed its staff via email that they should no longer enable comments on stories about presidential candidate Barack Obama. The reason for the new policy, according to the email, is that stories about Obama have been attracting too many racist comments.

"It's very simple," Mike Sims, director of News and Operations for CBSNews.com, told me. "We have our Rules of Engagement. They prohibit personal attacks, especially racist attacks. Stories about Obama have been problematic, and we won't tolerate it."

CBSNews.com does sometimes delete comments on an individual basis, but Sims said that was not sufficient in the case of Obama stories due to "the volume and the persistence" of the objectionable comments.
Anyone who's posted on the topic of Barack Obama has played wack-a-mole with racist comments -- e.g. the only post on this site that has had comments deleted for offensiveness is one entitled
"NEW ANTI-OBAMA BLOG" -- but here is the piece of the story I didn't get:
There has been a fierce debate about how news outlets should handle reader comments. Washingtonpost.com's Jim Brady, whose site, like CBSNews.com, does not have the resources to filter comments in advance, told Howard Kurtz that he'd "rather figure out a way to do it better than not to do it at all."
Two of the nation's leading news organizations have so little control over their comments -- much less control than a kid with a Blogger account? In light of the
post on blog comments by your Chicago Tribune Eric Zorn, I find that rather hard to believe.

2 comments:

Windypundit said...

I think "does not have the resources to filter comments in advance" means they don't want to have to assign staff to read all the comments on the site. A little keyword filtering might help automate things, but that's not too hard for the bad guys to get around.

Rob said...

And here partisan opponenets were wondering why he needed the Secret Service protection so early...

That said, it comes down to newsroom layoffs. They've cut to the bone and don't have anyone left to police their own forums.

But I can't believe they don't have anyone on staff who could do it. Maybe even an unpaid internship. Then again, what a crappy internship that would be if they went that route...

"What did you do as an intern for CBS?"

"Deleted racist remarks from their blogs."

"All day?"

"Yep."

"You didn't even fetch any coffee?"

"Nope. No time."

...Sad commentary on some of the low-lifes in America today.

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