Yesterday Hearne pointed out an article written by John Landsberg, media mogul at Bottom Line Communications…
I hadn’t seen the story but apparently Hearne is among Landsberg’s eight or ten readers and he asked me for my thoughts. So I decided to write a story about it for one reason and one reason only; hoping I could write a story Mysterious J could get all of the way through.
In Landsberg’s September 25th post entitled, “Popular Science Joins Others in Shutting Off Comments,” his thesis was based on the 114 year old magazine announcing it was shutting down its blog comments section, stating that comments can be “bad for science.”
Landsberg pointed this out as a trend “sweeping the country.”
For the record, I don’t know John, never met him. I understand he’s a good, Christian dude, but that aside, the story made no sense to me from that point on.
Landsberg stated that most sites are now requiring a Facebook log in to avoid the dreaded “anonymous” comments he claimed “often are mean-spirited, often follow an agenda and can diminish all the hard work and effort that went into producing the original story.”
He stated; “On some blog sites anonymous commenters have simply all but hijacked them. On one Kansas City blog site people with fake names such as “Hot Carl,” “Orphan of the Road,” “Balbonis Moleskine” and “Harley” respond to virtually every story in order to attract attention to themselves.”
I can only assume he’s referencing KC Confidential.
“Hot Carl” is an infrequent commenter at best, and when he does comment, it’s to the point, well reasoned and often very funny. Never once have I read an Orphan post and thought, “I bet he’s sitting at home just giddy that he saw his name in print and got all this attention.”
Balbonis Moleskine, far from a site or comment hijacker, has ripped me a new one from time to time, but I like everything he has to say and enjoy his comments. I don’t think he’s there simply to attract attention to himself either.
Landsberg continues; “On the other hand, the popular site Tonyskansascity.com does not screen responses and conversations can get ugly very quickly. However, they often seem to elicit the true pulse of the public on hot-button issues of the day.”
Hold on, his original premise was the elimination of anonymous comments because they have a tendency to go “mean spirited,” but he points out Tony’s as the “popular” blog site, made up of 99% anonymous comments, that, in his words, most certainly diminish the hard work and the intent of the story.
Not that posting links is hard work, but you get my drift.
At this point I was wondering if it was just schizophrenic ramblings because I was totally lost as Landsberg had just taken both sides of the issue, as if not expecting readers to notice.
Here’s Landsberg’s money quote; in his disingenuous charge against KCC and his attempt to kiss Tony’s ass, he added;
“It also is a trick for sites to try and generate more hits.”
That’s Hearne’s little secret to build hits, let people comment?
Mr. Landsberg, you’ve truly lost all credibility with me at this point. Allow me to review the “popular” site, “Tony’s Kansas City” in a 60 second scroll down his current headlines:
* Gemma Massey hotness and a quick look at Kansas City mainstream media links tonight
John – if I may call you John – what’s Jordan Carver have to do with my morning news? What’s Gemma Massey and her hotness have to do with my “mainstream media links” tonigh?t And how does Lacey Chabert and her lingerie hotness add to the meaning of my “morning links?”
You’re the media authority, can I ask you why Tony does that?
There’s one and only one reason; to build erroneous hits. Nothing more, nothing less. People trying to Google Lacey’s lingerie hottness or “Maxim” accidentally get directed to Tony’s.
And voila, whats he get from that? A hit.
So why do you seem to want to blame KCC people for just commenting as a hit building tool yet overlook Tony’s overt attempt to do exactly that by the use of cheesecake lingerie pics? Maybe you simply think your pal Tony just has a soft porn addiction that he likes to share with his readers because none of the rest of your story makes any sense.
Come on, John, you’re better than that.
You are, aren’t you?
Landsberg continues; “Uncivil comments not only polarized readers, but they often changed a participant’s interpretation of the news story itself,” noted a column in the New York Times.
Where, Mr. Landsberg, can you find any more uncivil, foul, hateful comments than at Tony’s?
Allow me to add what the real conclusion of your story should have been had you had approached it with a modicum of journalistic integrity.
Blogs like Popular Science and many others have one intent, to push forth an agenda. You know that, you’re a media and PR guru.
What do these sites have no interest in?
Well reasoned, fact based comments in opposition to their agenda. That’s the real reason they shut down their comment section. “I want to use my site to promote global warming and I have no interest in giving you a platform to prove I’m full of crap!”
A secondary reason can also be that some sites can’t afford to staff a sufficient number of moderators to read and approve and/or screen comments to eliminate gratuitous usage of the N word, the F word, racist comments and personal attacks that are allowed to spew forth at the popular Kansas City site…what’s it called…oh yeah, Tony’s Kansas City.
“At Bottom Line we must approve all comments on stories and make sure they are relevant to the topic and not hateful or mean-spirited.”
Guess what? You’re never going to believe this, but there were no comments on your story. Not one.
The bottom line is, Mr. Landsberg, I’m sure you could have gotten this more wrong, I’m just not certain how.