Judging A Website By Its Commenters

Citizen Free Press

The comments on leftist websites—-yes, I include the Washington Post and the New York Times—often make me reconsider my criticism of Michael Savage’s best selling book title, “Liberalism is a Mental Disorder.” The comments on most conservative websites, however, make me want to have my human race credentials revoked.

Take the comments on Citizen Free Press…please. The surging conservative news aggregator has taken a lot of clicks from The Drudge Report since the latter went ostentatiously NeverTrump. It is occasionally a useful resource, but the more I use it, the more showers I have to take. For example…

Isimemen Etute, 18, of Virginia Beach, a Virginia Tech freshman football player (I assume he was also a student?) has been charged with second-degree murder for beating a man to death after discovering that the 40-year-old he met on Tinder as “Angie,” was a man, Jerry Smith, rather than a woman. They had apparently had some kind of sexual contact on their first meeting, but on the second a month later, the ruse was revealed. Etute told police he punched and stomped on Smith’s head and “heard gurgling” before leaving him to die.

Don’t ask me how one could have a sexual encounter with a man and believe he was a woman, but there are stranger versions of this plot.

But the comments on the story on the Citizens Free Press link are more than depressing; they are frightening. The people who wrote the vast majority of them would need a serious upgrade to reach “deplorables” status. Ready?

  • “Im not saying it was justified but if you are a man that wants to be a woman then u should at least be honest cause you are not a woman just because u think u are.”
  • “That’s a helluva name for someone from ‘Virginia Beach'”
  • “2nd degree murder is bullish:t. This kid didn’t expect this in his whole life. WTH did the other guy think, it was ok to screw with a heterosexual’s head and btw things will be ok. Two lives sadly gone for what, deviance, a guy thinking he was gal. Fkn sad state man all around.”
  • “Everyone seems to be missing the point here, what the hell is this guy doing looking for a 40 year old woman couldn’t he find someone a little bit hotter than this dude? A college football player are you kidding should be in tail heaven.”
  • “Justifiable homicide.”
  • “2 birds with 1 stone
  • “Put me on the jury. Please. Innocent of all charges your Honor!”
  • “Fry that monkey!!!”
  • “Dont lie that you have a pee pee and you won’t get clipped. Stop shoveing homo shit down peoples throat !”
  • “Footballer is a moron!! The dead one’s bent. So who cares?”

These ten were the worst of just the first 26 comments. The rest were either incoherent or non-responsive. One out of the 26 would make it past moderation at Ethics Alarms.

The general array was one of illiterate, hateful, ugly racism and bigotry. Is this the core of the American Right today? If so, that is a serious problem bor conservatives, and America.

If these are the kinds of comments your blog or website attracts, who are you serving?

19 thoughts on “Judging A Website By Its Commenters

  1. Jack. Clinton had a sexual relationship with Monica. We simply assume she is female as we have nothing else to go on. One can have a sexual encounter without raising one’s skirt. That is how it can happen without knowing the biological sex of the gratifier.

    There is no justification for the beating and killing of the person who played him. Unfortunately, these types of stories attract the unsophisticated writer. However, it is possible that a deception like this could cause some type of emotional trauma on someone who fears he may be homosexual. Such trauma could have caused the killer to turn his rage inward in which he commits suicide. Thus, I consider the deception unethical.

  2. CFP doesn’t use any monitoring software to moderate comments. I don’t believe you even need a valid email address to comment there. There is no telling how many of the commentators are even real people. It is definitely a cesspool, but I doubt it’s an accurate gauge of right wing sentiment. It is an accurate gauge of what you get when you don’t moderate your comments whatsoever.

    I don’t know why people think it is fun to fill the internet with garbage, but there is obviously a certain subset of humanity who enjoys being gutter mouthed trolls. Some people really believe the things they say, and some people just like being outrageously offensive.

    • It’s the same reason we used to watch Andy Sipowicz beat the crap out of suspects on NYPD Blue while saying brutal racist and homophobic things. It’s the same reason we used to watch Hank Voight and the intelligence unit abuse suspects on Chicago PD. The fact of the matter is that regular life can make you really really angry and if you are a conservative like me it’s easy to get angry at those you perceive as being privileged or catered to. Of course we can’t spout off like we would like to in real life because it could be costly. So you go on the internet where you can be anonymous, and you cut loose.

      • You have to click “see comments” on sites like PJ Media, Red State, and Townhall to see the comments. I don’t usually seek out comment sections on websites due to their vitriolic nature. CFP’s I have seen because it’s at the bottom of the articles, and a few pixels of accidental scrolling reveals them.

        I read all the comments on this blog everyday because they are actually useful for getting varied perspectives on things. In most places, that is not the case.

        Right wing sites advocate for free speech, and the level of moderation in their comment sections is usually low. I can never decide if the comments reflect real sentiments of the readers, or the sentiments of agitators who hate conservatives. The most likely answer is a combination of both.

        Most traffic on the internet is a generated by bots, not humans. It’s often tough to discern the humans from the bots. I put about as much stock in comments as I do in online reviews. Most are fake, some are real, and without access to the metadata I can’t tell which are which.

  3. I gave up on that place a long time ago. To conspiratorial for me. I never once read any comments fearing exactly what I see above.

    The sad part is, the site’s tone is arguably catering to the worst of the right wing, and that’s pretty much what you see making comments.

    I find the Bongino Report less insensate, and more reasonable.

  4. I avoid any and all comment on any and all posts, blogs, media outlets, you name it, other than EA. They invariably devolve into school yard or sand box “I know you are, but what am I,” in two exchanges.

    That being said, and I’ve asked this before, where did “stomping” on people’s heads become a thing? Is it not the most ghetto thing out there? Just awful.

  5. How better to discredit a website’s readers, and by extension the website itself (“only morons read that!”) than by seeding the comment section with comments that read exactly as the mainstream media would depict moronic right-wingers? Now, who would have an interest in doing such a thing? Other than the CCP, the DNC, and those young social justice warriors paid by say, George Soros ($.25-.50 a post, more for thread derailment!). And of course, the late-of-here, angry, not-very-lamented Charles, and others of his ilk.
    It’s a war, folks. Propaganda is a big part of it.

    • Joe
      You make a good point and I don’t discount the notion that there are people and bots out there that make comments to reinforce the stereotypes of conservatives. But we have to admit there are a bunch of nimrods who have latched on to conservatism or the GOP because they believe that being for capitalism and against Marxism; being for personal responsibility and initiative and against forced equity; or, being for efficient government and against big bloated government is equivalent to some of their bigoted ideas about people. Every group has their own bunch of nimrods.

      • “Every group has their own bunch of nimrods.”
        Absolutely true. But do the nimrods that lean right really do all that commenting?

  6. Commenters often mimic piranhas, circling around until finally one takes a bite, then another, and a feeding frenzy ensues, with each comment never elevated above the level of the previous one.
    It is the author/moderator and his corps of “core commenters” that set the “tone and timbre” of the comment section. There are a lot of degrees and awards decorating the walls of those who gather here, and it SHOWS. Discussions of serious topics deserve serious minds. I, on the other hand, tend toward “Juvenalian” satire (the slightly mean kind). You may see me comment on the “lighter” topics here and there. On topics of great import, (though many comments might pop into my head), I realize they would add little to the discussion and I refrain. Perhaps I am acquiring “ethical perspectives”, more likely it is just the company that I am keeping here.

  7. “Everyone seems to be missing the point here, what the hell is this guy doing looking for a 40 year old woman couldn’t he find someone a little bit hotter than this dude? A college football player are you kidding should be in tail heaven.”

    This was not a bad comment.

  8. I mean…. Not to belabor the obvious, but obviously murder is wrong. I don’t think we need to rehash that here because I trust that everyone understands that.

    What the victim did here though… It’s not uncommon, and it never ends well. I think that there’s a mental health issue in play. More than the obvious. Whether the guy is a crossdresser, or trans, or something else…. A whole lot of people manage to put on clothing and affectations without ever once lying about their bodies to a sexual partner.

    I don’t know the exact facts of the case, but the basic fact pattern is old… We used to call people like this “traps”, although that’s probably not PC anymore, if it ever was. They meet up with someone, they trick them into sexual relations, usually oral, and they get… something… out of the deception. It’s exceptionally risky behavior because even if their victim doesn’t snap and murder them like this guy did, upon discovery of the deceit, physical violence is not uncommon. I see that as a separate level of mental illness.

    And I think we’re going to see more of this, at least in the short term, as the “trans women are women” narrative continues. There’s already a cadre saying that if men don’t entertain the idea of sex with a penis-having trans woman that they’re transphobic (Which, by the way, is absolutely at cross purposes with their previous positions on sexual preference), and this seems like a natural progression: “Why should I tell my prospective sexual partners that I have a penis? It doesn’t matter: I’m a woman.”

    Meanwhile… Not only are they setting themselves up for some obvious disappointment, but it’s dangerous.

    • . There’s already a cadre saying that if men don’t entertain the idea of sex with a penis-having trans woman that they’re transphobic (Which, by the way, is absolutely at cross purposes with their previous positions on sexual preference), and this seems like a natural progression:

      I have read writings from this cadre.

      They do not yet have support from the media and entertainment elites.

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