Carol Platt Liebau: A Little Defensive?

Saturday, January 21, 2006

A Little Defensive?

Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell was embroiled in controversy last week when her comments that Abramoff clients and associates gave money to both Democrats and Republicans elicited such a vituperative reaction from left-wing readers that the WaPo had to shut down comments to the piece.

This week, she's back and sounding a little defensive.

Lest any other disgruntled lefties take umbrage, she clarifies: It's not a bipartisan scandal; it's a Republican scandal, and that's why the Republicans are scurrying around trying to enact lobbying reforms.

She's also nervous about The Post's decision to shut down her site:

I didn't ask to shut down an area reserved for comments about me, as it did on Thursday night. And I know the decision is being greeted with great disdain.

Well. The Post did the right thing in shutting down the site. There are some kinds of comments that have little inherent value, and the Post isn't obligated to provide a forum for written abuse and slurs.

But what's interesting that The Washington Post had to shut down its site over tirades that -- judging from those quoted in the linked piece -- are pretty mild compared to the comments and emails I receive when I post over at the Huffington Post. It's about time that those on the center-left, like Howell, understood the kind of crazy vituperation that has, increasingly, become an acceptable modus operandi on the left. She writes:

[I]t is profoundly distressing if political discourse has sunk to a level where abusive name-calling and the crudest of sexual language are the norm, where facts have no place in an argument. This unbounded, unreasoning rage is not going to help this newspaper, this country or democracy.

It's the impotent rage of those locked out of power. But it is unacceptable -- and it's about time somebody said so. If Republicans wrote in with similar rage whenever they believed they were being treated unfairly, there wouldn't be an invective free comments site on any major newspaper in America.


Blogger Goat said...

I also know firsthand the left's style when beaten by facts they sink to caustic verbal abuse. To me it further solidifies the position and facts offered by the conservative side. I have no idea how LGF manages their massive comments section, and with the left leaning WaPo distribution the meltdow is to be expected judging from the erudite level of the comments at Kos , the DU and Atrios. I do notice that the blogs with superior analysis get few comments. I wish I got your show up here in Sactown so I have to suffice with your great blog. You go girl!

10:26 PM  
Blogger hbl said...

Someone ought to direct Ms. Howell to the DemocratUnderground. It's hard to believe she's never heard of it before.

2:07 PM  

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