June 19, 2013
Tom Brokaw
Tom Brokaw (center) (Getty Images)

Someone needs to tell NBC News legend Tom Brokaw to stop reading online comments; they’re scandalizing him.

In a chat today on MSNBC with Andrea Mitchell, Brokaw stumbled onto the topic of today’s youth and Internet culture. Mitchell sparked the monologue when she reported on the remarks of a source who said that the national security complex needn’t hire young wiz kids — a reference to leaker-or-source-or-whistleblower-depending-on-your-perspective Edward Snowden — who “don’t have a value system.” Brokaw then broke in:

That’s the world we now live in and will live in for some time. I think about my grandchildren, just from a domestic point of view. They’ll still have very good lives, they’ll be able to go places. But it will not be as easy for them. People will be looking in on their lives. We talk about any time that they send an email message, it’ll be there forever in some ways. And what troubles me a lot more with every passing day is the expansion of the blogosphere and the outrageous commentary now hidden behind pseudonyms of one kind or another. It’s been bad for some time. But now it’s become so vitriolic and scabrous and profane — and a lot of misogyny directed at women who are in public office. You read the worst kinds of things about them. Look, I’m a public person and so are you and so is Michael [Beschloss] up to a point: We can take the hits, but somebody who just finds themselves coincidentally in the news, then comes under this vicious attack, and we don’t know where the roots of it are, and it’s there forever. It’s the dialogue that we ought to be having in this country about the impact of all of this on, if you will, the commonwealth and civility and what we stand for.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.