Many sites grapple with the concept of commenters. Some journalists do too. Keep them. Lose them. Some scribes have strict self-policies to never read comments. So how much freedom is too much?
Politico has contemplated removing them, but so far hasn’t. The now defunct Politics Daily struggled with it and had a heavily moderated comment section — former Editor-in-Chief Melinda Henneberger once wondered to NPR whether publications are trading humanity for negative attention. And most recently a Capitol Hill publication was asked to remove comments beneath a post but the request was not honored.
In Tuesday’s NJ “Hotline On Call” story by Jessica Taylor on Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.), who had an allegedly “unwanted” sexual relationship with an 18-year-old daughter of a friend, commenters went to town. The conversation got so heated that one commenter, named Guest, had three comments removed. NJ makes it clear that they have the final say: “The National Journal Group has the right (but not the obligation) to monitor the comments and to remove any materials it deems inappropriate.”
Some comments that made the cut:
- “Do the right thing and quit you sexual deviant.”
- “A true piece of human waste.”
- “Most of people who roots from China are not fit for any position in politic and judicial. Generally they are very cruel with human beings. Of course, many are bright but see things and see people in a cheap and weird ways that most of Americans see and many others in Asia. So don’t put these people in charge for anything.” [sic]