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.
Deb Howell’s weekly column also addresses online comments.