Since Yahoo and other news sites started allowing comments from readers I’ve been astonished at the way in which comments have skyrocketed. Everybody, it seems, has an opinion and wants to be heard. A news item used to elicit scores of responses ; it now attracts hundreds , even thousands.Unfortunately, the quality of those responses leaves a lot to be desired and I’m not even talking about the grammatical errors and the inability to string together a simple sentence. Many of the comments are abusive, some are off topic and others leave me scratching my head. They don’t reflect well on the thinking ability or “smarts” of the people who make them.
Item : The recent trial of Rod Blagojevich, ex-Governor of Illinois, which ended in a mistrial with the jurors hopelessly deadlocked on 23 of 24 counts. Eleven of the twelve jurors were for conviction but the twelfth would not budge .That juror, JoAnne Chiakulas, stood by her vote, saying she found Blagojevich’s statements captured on FBI wiretap recordings so disorganized and scattered that his actions did not amount to a criminal conspiracy.”I thought he was just rambling,” she told the ChicagoTribune. “I could never live with myself if I went along with the rest of the jury”.In the Tribune interview, Chiakulas said she decided the prosecution had simply not proven its case, and that she had a responsibility to follow her conscience. She said she did not believe Blagojevich committed a crime with regards to Obama’s vacated Senate seat, but stressed that she did not necessarily find him innocent. She called him “narcissistic” and said she had ignored his many media appearances, which she called “his shenanigans.”
I don’t understand Mrs. Chiakulas’ reasoning at all but read this reponse from “Gene “, who wrote “She probably became infatuated with him during the trial, thinking he is now going to dump his wife and run away with her. I’ve seen it in other women her age, acting like a 12-13 year old girl over a much younger man, such as the L’Oreal woman in France.” Huh ?!! Mrs. Chiakulas is a 67 year old grandmother and a retired government employee. I cannot imagine that she voted as she did because she developed a crush on the Gov. How could anybody leap to such a conclusion without knowing anything about the principals ?
Several others questioned her political leanings and the fact that she had been a state employee. One anonymous Yahoo reader wrote “ You know she voted for Obama .” Another huffed ” Retired State employee says it all. Black , liberal, union, overpaid and overbenefitted, retired at age 48″. Still another responded ” Anyone else find it fishy that this broad who was the holdout is also a government worker ?” Somebody called TiT had this to say ” New Cadillac in the drivewayand a Florida vacation planned . And she gets a healthy raise in her taxpayer supplied retirement income , no doubt .” Isn’t it amazing how everything is the fault of President Obama and the liberals?
Item : Elin Nordgren , Tiger Woods ex, gave an interview after her recent divorce in which she said that she had been” through hell”. It was a throw away line but one reader took it literally and wrote in to say “I would happily go “through hell” for 100 million dollars. She has no concept of what real hell is. Just ask the homeless…or the unwanted, abandoned, and unloved dogs sitting in cages at the shelter waiting for the ones they loved to come get them…not knowing they are about to get their hearts pierced by the euthanasia needle.” Say what ?!! I love dogs too but what has that got to do with a news story on the Tiger Woods-Elin Nordgren divorce ?
Several responders chose to interject race into the situation . ” jjl” wrote in to say” In America RACE always matters. It will always matter when you are visibly black. HYPOCRITES. All the white athlete cheat read the memoirs of the madames and call girls this is a place to start. All celebrities cheat! Heck 60% of marriage fail in the US from cheating. Get over your race bias! Now Woods will learn he is considered a black man here and nothing else. White athlete DO CHEAT all the time!! This is why many get married more than once.”
Thank goodness there are some people who who have their wits about them.I am fully with Keri who responded to the previous comment as follows “You need a reality check. Didn’t Shaq cheat on his wife? Hello last I seen him, he was still an african american man. Bringing race into every matter is why today’s society is screwed up! The world will never be a better place if people like you are always putting excuses for race in it.”
Even responses to sports news degenerate into name calling and snide remarks. At present , a young American basketball team is competing in the World Championships . For one reason or another , none of the NBA superstars who helped the U.S win gold at the Beijing Olympics is on the squad. In their absence, players like Russell Westbrook , Kevin Durant , Lamar Odom and others are doing their best.Instead of rooting for our team, many ‘fans’ are deriding it as a “B team” and some are predicting that they will finish no higher than fifth. Fifth !! Why can’t these know-it-alls appreciate that these youngsters are giving it their all and root for them regardless of the result ?
Thankfully not all responders are like them. After the U.S won its game against Slovenia to stay unbeaten ,”Oliver” wrote to say” As an American, I am very proud of our effort, but also happy for the Slovenians. They are a small nation, and yet I am proud of them for putting up a gallant fight. Good for you, Slovenia. Further, I think this bodes well for international basketball. The rise of many nations as strong in basketball is good for the sport. So I am happy and proud of our boys for their win, but also happy that “tiny” Slovenia did well. They have every right to be proud of their effort and their sportsmanship tonight.”
What a generous response ! I wish there were more “Olivers”.
I know many people feel the same way I do on this topic. One person wrote to say that he was so disgusted with what he read that he felt like moving to another country ! To that , another reader responded that people in other countries did not have as much access to the Internet and therefore the level of the responses might only seem to be better. That sounds right. I t doesn’t make me feel better because it only means that we are no worse than the people in other countries.
Sometimes, free speech is not all it’s cracked up to be .