Times Union: A Place for Racists?

“Let’s hope for some positive discourse on our stories in the days to come.” That’s what Paul Block, the Times Union’s “online executive producer” said when introducing a system for reader comments on news stories.

How’s it going? Well, here’s a comment from Monday 2/1, made on a story about a racially charged dustup on a CDTA bus, so you tell me:

TUCommentSmall

Click to enlarge

Thanks to the intrepid Keyboard Krumbs reader who pointed this out; on Wednesday 2/3 they finally turned off the story’s comment area.

Look, you decide for yourself: do they really take comment moderation seriously? Even for a second?

It’s funny that they’ll call out a blog commenter who dares to refer to himself as “Old Fart”, but allow the worst sort of racism to run rampant in the news section. I thought that was supposed to be the grown up area.

It’s revolting.

Maybe they were too busy helping Kristi relaunch her blog to keep an eye on the comments. One must have one’s priorities.

14 responses to “Times Union: A Place for Racists?

  1. Rob, apart from your blog, I try not to read comments anywhere, as I don’t want my face to melt like the screaming meanie in Indiana Jones.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTcheaqt0rU

    I just wish you and J. Eric posted more often.

  2. Hmmm….. they ban “Old Fart'” but allow “Negrodamus”? Yep, stay classy TU

    • I’m sure that the TU people would say something like this: “By leaving that comment up, we’re showing the level of hate held by some people in our community.”

      Yes, and that you’re too lazy/understaffed/negligent to monitor comments.

  3. UPDATE: After All Over Albany linked to this item, the TU woke up and pulled down comments from that news story.

    Bravo to you, Times Union. Pretending this never happened is an excellent strategy.

  4. Alas, if only we could pretend Kristi never happened.

    • Her thing ain’t for everybody, but whose is? Join me in trying to avert your eyes; failing that, do not look directly at it.

  5. And now the excuses from the TU.
    http://blog.timesunion.com/michaelhuber/comments-closed-on-the-ualbany-bus-incident-stories/3115/
    “Story comments, run via a third-party site, go live immediately. Those stories brought out the worst of online comments. Since there’s no way to monitor those comments in real time, the decision was made to close comments.”
    –But the worst was there for 2 days and only down because of this blog!
    No review by anyone at the TU? And the third party site can’t review comments?
    TU and the truth…never to cross paths.
    How about…”We dropped the ball, we apologize, and we are going to actually monitor our comment section”…
    Nope, someone else effed up.

    • I give credit All Over Albany for linking to my post. The Times Union doesn’t care at all about what I think, but when the readers of AOA see what the paper’s up to, then they get uncomfortable.

      Yes, that was a classic non-apology, and you’re right, what he said is also not true. Are we supposed to believe that there is no way to receive a notification when a new comment is posted? That may not be “real time” but it gives a moderator the opportunity to act on offensive comments almost immediately.

      By the way, the guy who left that comment, a fellow who calls himself “Negrodamus,” left this racist comment on a recent story about a gas station robbery:

      “I’m shocked that a black man would do this!! Shocked I tell you!!”

      You might think that somebody would look at the guy’s other comments or delete his account, but I suppose that would be too much like work.

      Here it is in a nutshell: they know that reader comments increase clicks, otherwise, why would they bother? A lot of media outlets want to play the social media game without investing the staff required to do it responsibly. Huber said as much when admitting they don’t have people to moderate comments. So, on every count this is about what everything in the world is about: money.

      Comments help us make money and we don’t want to spend money to moderate them. Maybe he should write that in one of his blog posts, because it’s the fucking truth.

  6. Hey, TU…check it out how its done…
    from Keyboard Krumbs comment section, what you see after a comment is posted;
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

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