Sunday, April 15, 2012

Open Letter To CNN

I feel that while CNN does not make the news you do decide what to report on and clearly a decision has been made to report on divisive events and then to divide sides even further with subsequent reports. Of course that's a contemptible decision but a profitable one that won't soon be put to rest. The comment section is another matter and I must bring to your attention my opinion.

I have read your terms of service guidelines and I believe that you have made an honest effort to foster the expression of opinions on news items and you have made available this comment forum in good faith. However, I believe that it would be in the best interest of your audience if this comment forum was suspended. I say this in good faith after having studied the general trends in the comment sections of news articles. I think the majority of comments are negative, hateful, incite violence, are not beneficial or well intended, would not be said to each other in person, would not be said in front of one's mother, are not well thought out, are not spell checked, are politically biased rhetoric and serve no positive purpose but instead fan the flames of anger and hate and fear. At best, most comments are a hateful attack on someone else for being hateful. In a recent story about a town near my own hometown I read this tasteless remark regarding a police chief killed in the line of duty:

good riddance to bad rubbish.. saves tax payers some money I hope.

 Now, this user, luckylemmons, is implying that this police chief is "bad rubbish" and that (erroneously) the tax payers in coastal New Hampshire are going to save money because they don't pay his retirement benefits. Of course you have provided the option of reporting this remark as inappropriate but I feel that does not begin to quell my disgust for luckylemmons. His remark is not merely inappropriate, it is cold blooded, pathological, cowardly, heartless, disgusting, and ignorant. Here is a short exchange between three of your readers that chills my heart:

  • Tomjw
    This is extremely sad seeing humans enforcing the law and having their life taken for having an above and beyond honest life.  Curse those responsible for an innocent mans life and family taken.
  • matism
     Curse those instead who swear an oath to the Constitution, but instead spit on it as soon as they pin on their badge.
  • GDINY2
     matism, back up your statement with proof.  Curse those who allowed you to be born!
 Ah, the first amendment to the constitution really wins another victory with that conversation!
Obviously, if this speech were overheard IN A KINDERGARTEN CLASS there would be immediate action taken. But CNN allows for what? Flag as inappropriate? Three readers casting hexes on each other? Is Voodoo inappropriate? That doesn't begin to describe the depth of hatred between GDINY2 and matism. I would say that a rational, humanist institution devoted to fostering goodwill and kindness would not allow either of them to voice their opinions on their hosted forum. Wouldn't you?

I truly believe in the sanctity of free speech and I believe everyone has the right to publish their own newspaper full of their opinions but I do not believe it is your responsibility to provide a forum where anyone may express a hateful or violent opinion. Yes, you provide an option for someone to flag inappropriate comments and those comments will be reviewed by a moderator. I believe you provide this option in good faith but after my study of the comment section I feel it is safe to say you would have to employ an army of moderators to work full time in moderating/censoring those who express inappropriate opinions on your site. I do not believe it would be possible to moderate the volume of villainous/hateful comments. No. Furthermore, that puts you in an unpleasant position of censoring some but not all individuals. I could and may write a much more comprehensive brief to highlight the vile comments found on your forum but I invite you to look for yourself. I assume that no one on your staff is voluntarily moderating the comments section or else these cowardly and divisive comments would never be allowed to remain public. Obviously this enlightened opinion of...
You would think 40 pounds of donut fat would offer better protection.

...would be immediately removed if anyone with the power to do so had read it. I'm not alone in saying that if AppleOrange was standing in front of me then I would karate chop him in the trachea. To mock and belittle and minimize the death of a police chief and to do so using the cowardly anonymity of your comment section is beyond repulsive. This does not exalt America's love of free speech. No. It does not compliment our position as free people. Your comment section is not a reason to respect America. Do not delude yourself. You report news articles; the opinions of your audience members ARE NOT YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to publish. Comments such as this have no defense:

Even out the score against the blue.

I feel that even though Realdirect wrote that comment, CNN has been the one to provide a platform for him and by default you approve that message. Is that how you feel? That more police should die to pay for the criminals they killed? I feel that the forum administrator is partially responsible for the content of the forum and that would suggest you approve of Realdirect's scorecard concept. Consider the policy of sports broadcasts to refuse to show pranksters streaking naked across a field because they don't want to encourage or elevate that behavior. The CNN forum basically provides a national audience for the sub literate to voice their petty attacks from behind the protection of untraceable digital avatars. Some feel genuine sorrow for the policeman and post their condolences. Some are indifferent but post viciously hateful remarks to see what kind of response it gets. Some are sincerely hateful and stop at nothing to hurt those who are already hurting by writing truly ignorant things like this:

How were they Ambushed? They kicked in his door and ended up getting their backsides handed to them. If they would have handled the arrest a little differently they might still be alive. No need for the crash squad the only thing that's good for is inflating their egos. No tears here.

The only thing missing is a rude comment asking if the perpetrator also shot the deputy. Obviously you can not expect there to be a breakthrough in the debate on police violence and crime on the comment section of your website. So, please, the only people who benefit from this comment section are those who seek to wound others with their spiteful remarks. I say deny them this platform. They can start their own blog that they can promote as they are able but do not give them a brick wall and a can of spray paint and expect them to be courteous. And do not rely on neutral users to inform on others. Those who are truly courteous will understand the removal of the comment section. Those who are not courteous will feel bitter at being denied a public audience for their filth but I feel that is the best decision. Please review your comment section and reconsider a post-moderation policy. If you wish to change to a pre-moderation policy where every comment is previewed and approved first then I gladly volunteer to be moderator.
(I recently went through a CNN article and flagged any comment I felt was inappropriate. I flagged 30 comments of 60. Many were blatant hate speech. Of the other 30 maybe 4 were not volatile and inflammatory.  The remaining 26 were mildly annoying and frivolous but tolerable.)  

Comments about a story of a Jewish woman who survived WWII by playing piano were peppered with hateful holocaust deniers saying the woman wasn't telling the truth.
 Mass immigration and "assimilation" forced on  ALL white countries and ONLY white countries.
Genocide is genocide,it makes no difference if it is accomplished by bullets and mustard gas,or mass immigration and social engineering.
Anti-racist is a codeword for anti-white.

  • ThirdeyeAZ
    I dont know about a piano, but I hear a violin playing.
  • ThirdeyeAZ
    These stories are made up.
I flagged these comments because if they aren't inappropriate then nothing is.

From CNN: 4/17/12

Thank you for contacting CNN. Occasionally, during breaking news or moments when we experience unexpected spikes in the amount of comments, it may take longer than usual to process them all. We have forwarded this message to our team of moderators and can assure you that appropriate action will be taken.

Thanks again for bringing this to our attention.

Jamaal Technical Operations
Creative Commons License
Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.