There is a new, more dramatic form of hostility in the media and their users. I knew that but only now have experienced it with an anvil falling on me. I wrote an article for The Hill which distributes news in and around the US Capitol, entitled, “Thanks to Trump, America Shows True Leadership on the World Stage,” and the article triggered over 550 comments.
To my dismay, the article did not garner thought-provoking debate, but rather a disparage of uninformed commentary. Many writers had appeared to not even have read the article. Commentators argued primarily about the fact that Trump is not a leader, that they do not like him or his cabinet appointments, and disagree with his international performance. An overwhelming 575 out of the 582 of the comments were negative, while only three commentators made direct reference to the author and the article itself.
Commentators did not even address the arguments made in the article. Rather they used my thoughts as a platform for entirely extraneous arguments. There were continuously scrolling pages of hateful comments and threats aimed as a reply to specific earlier comments made. Users called each other names and created a fiercely hostile environment against freedom of speech.
There was no “conversation” or “discourse” or even arguments among people on the subject. It appears to me that neither readers nor writers learned new aspects due to the comments from the blog. They also clearly appeared not to be looking for such edification.
When making comments, readers should do themselves, their friends (and even their antagonists) a favor. Next time one encounters an article with a disagreeable title or first sentence, it should be read, thought about, and then commented on. Education and learning is the best form of artillery in an argument