Who knew? Doug Bailey, formerly of the Globe, reads them enough to work himself into a lather in print today.
I agree with his basic point: The comments represent the basest form of humanity, from the sort of people who blame Ted Kennedy and Bill Clinton (and now, of course, Barack Obama) every time somebody gets mugged in Roxbury.
But you know what, Doug? Your pals at Morrissey Boulevard and Herald Square share the blame.
They haven't set up forums for intelligent discourse on the events of the day. They've set up the digital equivalent of blank sheets of paper taped to the wall above the urinals in men's rooms. Of course people are just going to scribble and rant.
Real community - and the intelligent discussion that goes with it - takes real work. And real community is a two-way street - people react differently when they know somebody is on the other end of the ether. What do you expect is going to happen when people realize there's no there there? Compare the rantings on your typical news story with either MetaFilter or, locally, the BoMoms forums (so somebody at the Globe does get it).
Doug, you end on a weird note, complaining, at great length about an alleged local blog that's become "an authoritative source," even among the Knights of the Keyboard, despite writing "exclusives" based entirely on the comments of anonymous comments on newspaper articles.
Why not name them, Doug? Call them out! Isn't that what good journalism is all about? Exposing wrongdoers and stuff? Why wimp out now?
For the record, no, it's not Universal Hub. I rarely look at the comments on Globe and Herald stories and I've never, to the best of my recollection, talked to Doug Bailey.