Friday, April 09, 2010

Silence at the Enquirer

In this week's CityBeat, Kevin Osborne references the Enquirer's recent action in turning off the comments on the on-line news article about the St. Xavier High School football player who fell to his death from a hotel balcony while on Spring Break in Florida.

What Kevin may not know and what the Enquirer management will not come out and report is that they have changed the overall policy on stories about deaths. If you check on the following article Monday shooting victim dies, you will see that the option to comment is not included. I don't know exactly what stories qualify for this new no-comments policy, but there clearly is some type of policy in place.

What I will "speculate" has happened is that the Publisher of the Enquirer got wind of the comments on the stories about the St. Xavier student. She didn't like that and she pushed for the policy change because it affects someone she cares about.

It took the publisher to either be lobbied by people she knew or she knew the kid herself to notice the kind of comments that flood the Enquirer website.

Kevin's points are not lost on this at all. The Publisher had let countless comments about he deaths of kids from OTR and other inner-city neighborhoods, younger than this St. X student, killed for making mistakes, flood those articles. It took the death from the right socio-economic circles to get her attention.

Why she's not making the policy change public is the surprise. Or is it? Does the Publisher know that making an announcement about the comments policy change will only point to obvious motivation it took for her to act? I would guess the Editors and Staff of the Enquirer and would really like to announce this policy change. I don't think any of them want people to think they are only silencing the hate-filled comments about Suburbanites. I will surmise a silence ploy is the chosen tack. Say nothing and wait for it to blow over. I don't think that's going to work. To use another cliché, the bell can't be unrung. It is time to announce the policy change and maybe get new software to make commenting less anonymous and less offensive to everyone.

I'm only speculating here, but If I can figure this out, anyone can.

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