Thursday, March 6, 2008

Who Is Responsible for Online Comments?

AFTER THE REDSKINS' Sean Taylor was murdered in his South Florida home, rumors and speculation about his death floated everywhere, especially on the Internet.

Some commenters on newspaper and blog sites assumed that Taylor was involved in something negative (drugs, violence, etc.) and that was why he was killed. Sometimes, the commenters became racist - Taylor is African American. They made assumptions about his life based upon the color of his skin.

Some media companies have people who monitor comments and they eliminate the rude and possibly defamatory ones. But that requires a person monitoring every story online and every comment posted. That is a lot of work that many media companies cannot afford to cover.

Who is ultimately responsible for material like that being published online? Can you blame the media outlet for what commenters post at the bottom of online stories?

Is it wrong to censor comments? Shouldn't the public be allowed to have a voice? Or do the media have a responsibility to maintain civility?

By the way, if you have not read this story by Inquirer sports columnist David Aldridge, read it now. It is a wonderful appeal to end violence.


Anonymous said...

Monica Sellecchia

This is just another example of people sterotyping. There could be so many reasons for the murder of Taylor, however some people just resort to the easiest assumptions for the cause. The writers of the racist and unethical comments are the ones responsible for the material. I do believe though that if the material was censored, citizens would not resort to these stereotypical assumptions in everyday situations because they wouldnt have that influence being pressed on them through the media. The media basically eggs these things on and we as citizens and readers of the news are highly influenced by it. It is the job of the media experts to not only give us the true story, but also to maintain an ethicality and morality toward their work. There is a difference between fairly voicing your own opinion and voicing your opinion with obvious (or hidden) preconceived prejudices. Assumptions are always trouble!

Justin Myers said...

I find it ridiculous that people "expected" Sean Taylor's death. I followed this a lot after his death, and yes, he did do some wrong in his day. But everybody does. He was turning himself around though, he had a fiancee and a 2 year old daughter, both of whom he loved. He did not deserve to die, and the person who murdered him didn't even know that Taylor was there. These were just kids that were lookin to steal(i make that sound just, but my point is they were not looking to kill Taylor) some stuff from this nice house in Miami. Nobody deserves to die, regardless of what they have done.

dhall said...

Racism is reality. Im not mad it at I welcome it. As far as im concerned its a sign on weakness and ignorance when people make comments like that. I automatically know that your an idiot and disregard any further conversation with you. No one's life should ever end by the ands of another regardless of skin color. They dont need to regulate that. Just make sure that whoever said it is known and not anonymous so they can reap the backlash of there ignorance

Scott said...

I really hate the fact that people would just assume things and bad mouth Sean Taylor; He's been my go-to saftey in every season of madden I play. But the truth is its easier to assume things rather than investigate, especially when the assumptions make for a more interesting story in the reporters eyes. But hell, its America and we have some ignorant people. But then again, what country doesn't?

Tyler Laurie said...

Being from Washington DC and an avid college football fan I had watched Sean Taylor for about 6-7 years before this terrible event occurred and I have to admit that when I heard about it I did assume that there was foul play involved in his slaying. Taylor had been in or around trouble since his freshman year at Miami. I monitored the situation the entire day and waited for blog updates and online updates to see how the situation was going. It is of course the worst thing that can happen to a young man who was trying to turn his life around, but I do think there is a bigger issue here.'s Jemele Hill wrote an article called the grim statistic that stated that unfortunately young black males fall victim to acts of violence such as this far more than they should. In essence what she wrote should have been what all reporters focused on. While everyone wrote about a great football player dying too young, that fact is, especially in a city like Phila, too many young black males die young. Does it really matter if they were people who didn't always make the best choices? After all, Taylor didn't always make the correct choices during his career. I think the problems with many writers these days is that they always try to beat people to the punch and it does not matter if what they write is true or not. The reason I respected what Hill wrote so much is that she didn't try to go out on a limb and predict the truth about Taylor's death, what she did do though was point out something that everyone should be aware of. If more writers focused on that than perhaps these issues would not come in to fruition and we wouldn't have to argue about something like someones death.