If you stick around in journalism for a week or two, you’ll hear the argument about how your outlet’s Web site should no longer allow anonymous comments. Encourages bigotry and hate, goes the argument — even as you and your fellow reporters make extensive use of anonymous sources.
Well, here’s the counterargument. Eric Pfanner, in the New York Times, casts a strong vote in favor of Internet namelessness: “The real world is often messy, chaotic and anonymous. The Internet is mostly better that way, too.” Attempts to enforce real-identity policies, he writes, won’t work:
Even self-contained Internet services like Facebook have had difficulty enforcing “real name” systems. To achieve this on the borderless Internet would be impossible — as South Korea discovered with YouTube, a unit of Google. Rather than complying with the country’s policy on names, Google blocked uploads to YouTube’s Korean version and redirected users to YouTube.com, the site’s international version.
*Arianna Huffington takes her social-media evangelism to Brazil.
*Chris Wallace of Fox News sets up former vice president Dick Cheney for a question on media bias. He shows Cheney a clip of his recent interview on the “Today” show, which reveals that after the controversial Bush veep shakes hands with host Matt Lauer, the camera pans to the street, where someone is holding up a sign saying, “Investigate Cheney.” Then Wallace asks if Cheney believes there’s a liberal bias in the media. “I think there probably is, but I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about it,” responds Cheney, noting that the Internet provides ample platform for his views.
Clearly not the red meat Wallace was hoping for.
*Why the Tuesday testimony by former News International employees before Parliament is so critical.
*Media observer comments that Politico “owns” the news cycle.