I just learned that CNN closed its online message boards. I understand why, and no, it was not a move designed to stifle the increasing volume of anti-Obama comments, as some have suggetsed. I have been thinking about writing about this for a while, and the CNN move is an ideal opportunity.
The discourse on most news aggregator websites and news sites is beyond abysmal and uncivil: it’s an embarrassment to the nation. On such sites as CNN, Mediaite, The Daily Beast, The Daily Caller, Politico and others, virtually every thread follows the same, sad, pointless, idiotic path. Maybe there are a few substantive comments, then someone makes a cheap partisan crack, followed by an exchange of increasingly nasty comments based on familiar talking points from the right or the left, then, finally, name-calling, often with a racist, sexist or homophobic tone. If you have the patience to wade through the crap, a thoughtful comment may sneak in, but who has the time or patience, or utter emptiness of life to do the wading? Here is a section from the middle of the comments on this Mediaite story…this one was about Bill O’Reilly being critical of Obama’s handling of ISIS, but honestly, the subject doesn’t matter much,. All the threads read the same way. Eventually every one gets around to someone insulting Obama, and immediately an Obama defender will mention Bush, who was, I should note, President six years ago, but I digress: Continue reading