Striking a blow for accountability

A columnist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer says she looks forward “to the day when news organizations start to ban anonymous comments on their Web sites.” She continues:

Maybe that’s the foolish optimist in me, but I want to believe that we will finally admit — to ourselves and to the public at large — that allowing people to hide behind anonymity has not been good for our industry, our culture or our country.

I couldn’t agree more. I have long found it hard to believe that newspapers, which place so much stock in accountability, would tolerate the publishing of unsigned, half-baked rants whose only purpose is to move public opinion toward the (anonymous) writer’s beliefs. Newspapers should end this practice now. Immediately. Today.

After all, would anyone really miss the editorials?

14 Responses to “Striking a blow for accountability”

  1. InTheArena Says:


  2. Tom Says:

    So, how much identification do you want? For this post you accepted my email address. That would not seem enough based on your comments. In the old days I needed a name, address and phone number for the N&O letters to the editor. And they had some rules on the number of letters per month. But those days are gone. Who reads the letters to the editor now when you know they are selected and filtered by the staff. I like the articles that allow any kind of post within reason(they are monitored). This lets you read the good, the bad, and the ugly. In reality you cannot post the address or phone number of the person and the paper does not have the resources to verify anything these days. And if you want them to register, ok, but still there is not enough resources to verify the person is real. And how is it bad for our culture and country? Do we know what is in the paper or the news is real? Not in this day and age:

  3. Then he Says:

    Nicely done.

  4. Then he Says:

    Tom - I read the letters to the editors. They’re funny.

  5. Locomotive Breath Says:


    The newspaper wants to know who you are so that if you disagree with them they can attack not your ideas but you the person. All you have to do is to look at the N&O’s treatment of the new WCPSS board.

    Meanwhile, they’re OK with not asking for ID when people vote.

  6. NotThatImportant Says:

    Loco, your rants would be better received when you provide some evidence supporting your argument that this board is receiving some treatment different (worse as you tell it) than the former. Frankly, the recent article about Tedesco was pretty universally regarded as a positive piece. Even the letter writers who still detest the man referred to the article as a positive depiction.

    I personally disagree with his conclusions and ultimately believe the changes being made will result in higher crime rates and lower property values in some areas of Wake county generations from now but, after reading the profile in the N&O, I have a new respect for his effort and his willingness to work for what he believes in. I just think the belief that somehow our newly created high poverty schools will buck all of history everywhere else in the US and have adequate parental involvement, sufficient resources and everything else needed to ensure student success is a misguided pipe dream. It has never happened anywhere but it’s somehow going to work in Wake county — we’re not sure how or how much it will cost but we’ll let you know in 15 months. In the mean time let’s ensure we dismantle the current system that, at least in part, made Wake county a desirable place to live and raise kids.

  7. Locomotive Breath Says:

    The guy who spits out four times as many words as I did looks pretty funny accusing someone else of ranting.

    The N&O went back and dug out that a friend of an associate of a brother in law (or some such) was their bete noir Jesse Helms. I dare you to find any example of them giving the same kind of background treatment to any member of the prior school board. They’ve finally started acknowledging that one school board member is the mayor’s wife

    “I just think the belief that somehow our newly created high poverty schools will buck all of history everywhere else in the US and have adequate parental involvement, sufficient resources and everything else needed to ensure student success is a misguided pipe dream. ”

    The misguided pipe dream is that you can get the failing students to succeed by putting them in the desk next to a successful student. Tried that for the better part of half a century. Failure. Everywhere.

    Define “adequate”. Blank check I’m sure?

    Parents who want to (key part that - some parents don’t give a hoot) will stay in better touch when the school is next door and not 15 miles across town. That’s right. The stereotypical single mother with three kids and two jobs might just be able to make that 10 minute trip but not the 40 minute one. Especially if they can count on all their kids sequentially going to that same school. Look up “pride of ownership”.

  8. Esse Quam Videri Says:

    Nicely done, Mr. G. I was preparing to rant & rave about how foolish it would be for any of the old media, esp. McClatchy here in NC, to do away with their now-bread & butter (the traffic generated from those who comment incessantly, as I formerly did), then realized the thrust of your argument. Duh.

    Speaking of anonymity, it is one of my pet peeves that the Raleigh N&O uses “liberal leaning” sources like NC Policy Watch without ever identifying them as such, while we always hear about “businessman Republican Art Pope-funded conservative JLF” or some such nonsense. Not only does McClatchy use Soros-funded Families USA & similar organizations to back up the supposed points of their stories, but the N&O regularly cites NC Policy Watch, whose website clearly states that it is a project of NC Justice Center, where Orage Quarles sits on the Board, along with NAACP state head William Barber & the infamous Gene Nichol.

    Why don’t they just rename the paper “The Progressive Voice”? Any pretense at “fairness” and “accuracy” (two of their stated principles) is laughable. By not disclosing their association with liberal/progressive causes they are hiding behind anonymity as well.

  9. NotThatImportant Says:

    I don’t think anyone is making the argument you present — that kids will do better by osmosis. The point is providing an environment devoid of the distractions of disciplinary issues and high concentrations of low performing students that require additional instructor attention (hallmarks of any high poverty school). A quiet and calm classroom won’t guarantee success but a hostile rowdy one most certainly makes it more difficult. Please point out for us any successful high poverty schools — even the new majority readily admits more high poverty schools will likely result from their plans.

    Most schools in Wake rely on parental volunteers to help with all sorts of things teachers are not burdened with. Sad, probably, but true none the less. Where are the schools with much larger percentages of single mothers with 2 jobs going to find those parents? Even if the school is 2 minutes away. How do you replace that free labor at the schools that won’t have any? Talk about blank checks.

    I will agree with you on 1 point — some parents don’t give a rip. The cold hard reality is that a much higher percentage of low income parents fall into that category.

  10. InTheArena Says:

    NTI, excellent comeback to Loco, “…your rants would be better received when you provide some evidence supporting your argument…” Bet that caused him to fall on his sword!

    Oh, yeah, by the way, NTI, your rants would be better received when you provide some evidence supporting your argument. Please provide your sources source attributions and supportive data that:

    “…concentrations of low performing students … require additional instructor attention…”

    “A quiet and calm classroom won’t guarantee success …”

    “…a hostile rowdy one most certainly makes [success] more difficult.”

    “Most schools in Wake rely on parental volunteers to help with all sorts of things teachers are not burdened with.”

    As you so obsessively and redundantly and redundantly require of others, yours is simply another, albeit more hypocritical, opinion piece that serves simply to bolster the neanderthal mentality that the mainstream media vomits forth every day, McClatchy Corporation and its sad little mouthpiece, the N&O, being but one nauseous example.

  11. InTheArena Says:

    EQV, once again, a refreshing observation on what, sadly, too many simply don’t recognize.

    This great nation is circling the drain as the “Progressives” utilize their minions in the press to accelerate the demise.

    The corrupt nature of the modern media in this country, its complete ambivalence to Truth and sacrifice of Freedom at the alter of a socialist, secular humanist reinterpretation of what this country is, enslaves us all.

    The press in this country, rather than forestalling our loss of freedoms, is accelerating it. It fails to see, through the false shroud of its own delusional self importance, that is it driving this country to open rebellion.

    (NTI, lest you worry someone will show up at your trailer with a bb gun, violence is a fruitless avenue for retaking this country. If things don’t change, a rebellion is coming. If not at the ballot box, then in the streets and in the courts, and in opting out, but not through violence, so don’t sweat your fat little fanny that you and your cohorts are worthy of wasting ammo on. Simply put, you are not.)

  12. Tom Says:

    I have written about the school system before and what you all fail to understand is that the neighborhood schools have taken the brunt of the bussing, inclusion(mainstreaming problem children in the classroom), less money and facilities, 4 X 4 scheduling, etc. The Ligons, Enloes, and Broughtons had to do none of this. Take Tom Oxholm who wrote this piece in the N&O last week:

    He was on the school board during the fall of the neighborhood schools and he had four children that always went to a private or magnet school. The neigborhood school was beneath them. When I see all the folks who are complaining about the move back to neighborhood schools I think of this quote from the movie It’s a Wonderfull Life:

    “Just remember this, Mr. Potter(diversity crowd), that this rabble(free and reduced price lunch program families) you’re talking about… they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community. Well, is it too much to have them work and pay and live and die in a couple of decent rooms and a bath(neighborhood schools)?”

  13. InTheArena Says:

    Tom. Agree with everything you wrote, and appreciate the novel analogy. All, that is, except the “…you all fail to understand…” part.

  14. Locomotive Breath Says:

    50 years of failure is 50 years of failure.