With a gentlemanly but unmistakable wave at vituperative Strib online commenters, longtime political analyst and media consultant D.J. Leary bid good-bye to his “Your Voices” blog Friday.
“As a blogger for startribune.com, I have become one of the things I detest most in American politics. I am one of those adding fuel to the fire of political discontent, bickering and the general ‘take no prisoners, never mind the facts’ bickering that has become the sad hallmark of our arena of public discourse,” he writes.
Leary — who, as a co-founder of Politics in Minnesota, was a blogger before blogging even existed, and as a big-time strategist, has mixed it up with major players — says he doesn’t mind a good fight, but not with anonymous flat earthers who can dominate the Strib’s all-but-unmoderated space.
Sadly, the scorched earth people of all political parties and beliefs have used the Internet’s anonymity flaw to publish false, misleading, unfounded stories, statements, and fake quotes about people and issues in the public arena. … fueled by the anonymity of the Internet, these whackos are gaining in strength rather than being sent off somewhere for a rest. … the political bickering we hear today truly ‘signifies nothing,’ yet, it grows with each passing day. Maybe, I can start something by stopping. Right now. This is my last ‘Your Voices’ post.”
Appropriately, the Strib has enabled comments to Leary’s good-bye (though ironically, they are pre-reviewing them, as they do for a few especially controversial stories). No feedback as of 4:30 p.m. Friday, but I expect the ol’ spin doctor will get some heat about leaving the kitchen.
It’s probably not a huge sacrifice to give up an unpaid gig, but perhaps it’s a harbinger. Will other writers choose their gigs based on commenting standards?
[Addendum: Strib sports columnist Pat Reusse, has more thoughts on his paper’s policy at his KSTP-AM blog.]