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Pointing Fingers, For Fun (And Profit?)

You can blame it on the president
Or blame it on the press;
Its Republicans—or Democrats!
That put us in this mess
It’s the radical conservatives
Who can’t admit defeat,
Or the constant wimpy whining
Of the liberal elite
Yes, we’re quickly pointing fingers—
Someone’s got to take the fall—
And it doesn’t really matter
What the issue is at all.

When disaster hits the heartland
Or a city on the coast
In a matter of mere moments
(or an hour at the most)
Come the comments we rely on—
Pointing fingers, laying blame—
Like the tragedy’s a backdrop
For some all-important game
And it doesn’t really matter
That some innocents have died;
Cos what really is important
Is to blame the other side.

If a crime has been committed
And the act involved a gun
You can bet your bottom dollar
That the comments will be fun
And the vitriolic rantings
By the dozen; by the score,
Show the act confirms suspicions
That the writers held before.
If you want the simple answers—
Who is right and who is wrong—
You can ask the loyal partisans,
Who knew it all along.

If a story features kittens,
Or a bunny, or a mouse,
It’s a blatant misdirection
By the Senate or the House,
Or the POTUS or the SCOTUS
Or it’s Soros or the Kochs,
It’s a case of bread and circuses
For ordinary folks
It’s deliberate distraction
But I guess it could be worse…
Just imagine how annoying
If the comments were in verse!

Maybe it’s just my imagination, but it seems to me that since the study came out showing the effects of internet comments on the perceptions of the facts from the articles themselves, the comments sections of my old stomping grounds have grown far more (and more predictably) nasty. It makes me wonder if there might be a deliberate, concerted effort to fill the comments sites with noise, to control the perception of the situation in lieu of having the facts on their side. It has happened before, in conservative talk radio. And now, places like npr’s comment threads are starting to look like CNN’s, or even Fox’s. Ok, it’s not that bad, but I’m seeing politically partisan comments (not just the predictable comment) showing up in science stories, food stories, culture stories, as well as political stories.

It may be a testable thing–I could not prove the connection, but I could conceivably falsify my perception of an increase in vitriol, with a content analysis of comments before and after the internet comment study came out. Or, of course, someone could find the smoking gun, like with the radio call-in case.

Till then, I think I’ll blame Obama. It just seems the in thing to do.

Mind you, what I should do is offer myself up to the highest bidder. I could fill comment threads with muck just as well as anyone, but in verse! Oh, wait, I already made that offer.

Comments

  1. gillyc says

    It’s always ‘them’ to blame. But it’s always god they thank. Odd, that.

  2. Dave Jones says

    we really enjoy it when you little whiners start calling the police, but they won’t save you from JUDGMENT DAY

    usaparanormalchallenge.tumblr.com/

    how we won the James Randi $1,000,000 Paranormal Challenge

  3. Cuttlefish says

    Oh, my… Dennis, I have almost missed you. Please get in touch with your caseworkers. I really don’t want you to go to prison; I would much rather you go back to the hospital.

    Mabus, get help. Seriously.

  4. says

    I, too, have noticed the decline in quality at the NPR comment sites, and I think I can name the exact time when it happend. Remember in the fall of 2010, when Juan Williams was fired from NPR, after he made controversial comments about Muslims on Fox?

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130712737

    As the controversy unfolded, the NPR site was flooded — inundated, swamped, overrun — with comments from those with a conservative viewpoint. Each news story about Williams generated 1000+ comments from those who, it seemed, had oozed over from the Fox community. Soon, those commenters oozed all over the NRP site. It was astonishing to see how quickly the comment section tipped to the right, and how quickly the overall quality (i.e., grammar, spelling, coherence) declined.

    I used to be a regular participant in the comments there, but after that I gave it up. (The other reason being the horrible redesign of the NPR website. Ugh.)

    [In preview, the formatting of this comment looks...odd. Not sure how to make it behave.]

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