The Science of Journalism

If I Had My Way
One Man's Opinion -- for what it's worth.


To: Margaret Sullivan - public@nytimes.com

Cc: Dan Froomkin - dan.froomkin@theintercept.com

From: Doug Skoglund - skoglund@pdmsb.com

Date: 10 Sep 2014 08:00 am CDT

Subject: 2014027 - With all due Respect...

Soooooo -- where does one go to learn and engage in respectful intellectual discourse?? The key word is "respectful" -- pretty hard these days -- what with the Internet being monopolized for the benefit of the rich.

In a cooperative society (AKA: Democracy), the citizens are expected to understand their differences so that they can go to the poles periodically to determine the course of future action. 

You wrote:

The Times makes a big and expensive commitment to civil discourse by having its comments moderated by human beings.  Usually, it works well; reader comments often add a great deal to the discussion, and no one wants to reduce them to the blandness of pablum.  Provocative, edgy comments are important to include.  But basic civility matters, too.

To begin -- comments moderated by human beings under the control of the Times is NOT respectful. Comments have been developed to control discourse -- not enhance it. Honest, open discourse must occur between equals, where it is up to the participants to moderate their behavior to meet the goals of the group.

Most writers hide their Email address and those that don't hide don't respond -- so what's the point. Develop a seminar type system where the participants learn how to participate respectfully.

If you really believed in "civil discourse," you would work toward a far more respectful format.

Frank Bruni wrote:

Like the smattering of other Americans who still pay close attention to the wearying spectacle of our country's politics, I worry about what will happen on Nov. 4, the day of the midterm elections.

But I worry even more about what will happen the day after, when a nation of people fed up with the stubborn dysfunction of our country's government realize that nothing's going to change and we're in for more of the same.

I worry about the combustible tension between our abysmal regard for the Congress that we've got and a near certainty that the Congress we're about to get will be its spit and image: familiar faces, timeworn histrionics, unending paralysis.

Our history is such that we just keep returning the incumbents; our system is such that insurgents are few and far between. They lack the money, and politics is increasingly about money. They lack name recognition, and it's the era of celebrity.

The Internet was designed for two-way communication -- and we have turned it into another one-way (down)(note that up and down are NOT equal) to broadcast to the masses.

With all due respect, dear lady, you are in the business of "controlling the people" -- and that is what you do, for the benefit of Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr.

The people will win, eventually -- it's your choice, dear lady -- it's now or ...... when??

To be continued (I really hope) 

Doug Skoglund skoglund@pdmsb.com

I don't provide for comments since that is a system designed to control the communication process -- I do provide an e-mail address!! (Please put a [MYWAY] in your title to get my attention).

BTW, I am working on a replacement system.

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