Commenters, prepare to be amused. A Sun-Times web editor named Matthew Wood chastised some of his newspaper's online community for nasty, racist remarks and has blamed this phenomenon on...Deadspin. Read on.
It'd be tough to summarize every wrong-headed, ridiculous theory this Mr. Woods presents from the perspective of his lofty perch as "web editor" of the newspaper because from start to finish, he takes on a somber, haunted tone of a special-ops soldier who spent the last few years defusing landmines. And why is his job so "messy," as he says? Well, it's partly your fault:
I blame part of this on what I like to call the "Deadspin effect."
Deadspin is a wildly popular sports Web site that gets the dirt on athletes, sports media and pretty much anyone else they want to poke fun at. Commenters are encouraged to make their own witty observations, and those comments can be just as entertaining as the posts.
But that is the goal of the site. And it is — for the most part — tongue-in-cheek. Deadspin is not a serious news-gathering source.
Maybe the mainstream media are to blame for much of this. The trend is to promote "user-generated content" to make the readers feel more involved in what they're reading. That's all great, but it doesn't give anybody carte blanche to spew obscene, racist rants all over our Web pages.
So, to all those particularly venomous correspondents out there — by no means representative of most Sun-Times readers — the next time you've written that diatribe about the latest big story in the news, please think about what you're writing. If your name were attached to it, would you still want it published? If you knew your boss were going to read it, would it embarrass you?
If it passes those tests, then by all means, hit that send button and join in the conversation.
I, along with the rest of civilized society, await your contribution.
If not, maybe it's best to just hit "cancel," take a deep breath, and check out Deadspin.
What a little asshole. Anyway, have at him. Just try not to call him a monkey or accuse of being an illegal immigrant. Even though we're not a serious news-gathering source that takes half of its online content from other serious news-gathering sources, we still have rules.
UPDATE: It appears this article is not as insulting as it was at first glance. So I'm told. (I blame those smartypants rapscallions at The Awl for the oversight. Oh, go vote for them for "online editors of the year," btw!) According to Mr. Wood's good friend, Brad, editor of the Chicago-based satirical sports newspaper The Heckler, I just peed all over something that was supposed to be somewhat complimentary, and wrongly accused Mr. Wood of being a "little asshole" which he most certainly is not. Here's Brad's email:
Dear AJ - Matt Wood is a great friend of mine and far from the "little asshole" you call him several times in your post. Disagreeing with what he wrote on the Sun-Times site is fine, but you didn't have to make it personal by calling him a "little asshole." You didn't have to read into his post that he was blaming anything on Deadspin. In fact, I read it that the small percentage of those posting racist or otherwise offensive comments on the Sun-Times site which they were as entertaining as many of those posting comments on Deadspin. Matt wants those posting offensive comments to the Sun-Times site to check out Deadspin to see what true wit and banter looks like.
I get it. You're the little blogger that could, trying to take down yet another big, bad mainstream media outlet. But the next time you feel so offended by what some hard-working MSM staffer writes from his "lofty perch," try to keep from making it so damn personal. Like many others at the Sun-Times, ESPN, or whomever else you want to wage a holy blogging war against, Matt is a real person and might not be a "little asshole" just because he happens to write something you happen to disagree with.
The Heckler & TheHeckler.com
So I guess I'm the little asshole. And possibly Brad. I don't like his tone. Anyway, happy holidays Hecklers.