Drudge and the Swamp Dwellers
I feel like I need a shower. A long one.
I have just emerged from the online swamp known as “comments,” and boy, that’s a slimy neighborhood.
The Drudge Report published an unnamed-source item late last week on Condi Rice being at the top of Mitt Romney’s veep list. Within hours, the media world ran with it. The timing of the item was suspect, and the lemmings who repeated it helped promulgate a story that was extremely unlikely to be true.
After putting fingers to keyboard for The Daily Beast on why the practice of repeating stories without vetting them is unethical, hundreds of comments poured in. Many agreed that the media blew it. Others simply wanted to attack Drudge, in especially nasty ways. And still others used it as a way to bludgeon either Obama or Romney.
What wasn’t addressed was the fact that many of the comments were so hateful as to be unreadable. Which brings me to my next screed. What happened to “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say it all”? We wonder why our politicians’ discourse is so unpleasant and why no one can get anything done in Congress. And then we mimic their behavior on message boards by calling someone with an opposing viewpoint stupid – and that’s the tame version.
Attacking Drudge on the basis of his sexuality? And just what does that have to do with anything?
It’s even worse when the media initiates the invective. Take Michael Tomasky’s piece in the Daily Beast excoriating Romney and calling him a “racist” for his speech to the NAACP. I know Michael. I work with him. He’s a great guy – always pleasant, inclusive and a team player. But when I read his viscous attack, my heart grew heavy. The piece became another example of the crippling invective that is paralyzing our political processes.
Enough already. Maybe commenters and scribes and politicians need to channel this pent-up anger into something constructive. Like playing a heated game of tennis, or kickboxing, or windsurfing. Even gardening if that does it for you.
Call me Pollyanna, but something’s got to give. The problems of the world are too large to spend time vilifying those who don’t believe what you do. And you’re too smart to spend your time doing it just to be heard. Right?
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