Friday, January 14, 2011

Deborah Cotton

I learned from Deborah Cotton, who blogs at Gambit's Blog of New Orleans, that she wrote about the "closed" comments for Society page stories on a few months ago. The following paragraph that appears in the article sums up a lot of my frustration with
One need look no further for evidence of the local media’s bias against the Black community than the paper of note: The Times Picayune. While it must be acknowledged that there are some good writers with sensitive professional keyboard stroke at the paper (Katy Reckdahl and Jarvis DeBerry come to mind)- and in this particular case the facts of the murder and the parade were correctly chronicled - discriminatory practices exist that demonstrate a racial bias at the Times. The monitoring of the comments section is a prime example. The TP’s website has a notorious reputation for allowing racially charged comments that malign Black residents to fester without restraint, as in the case of the two college students who were kidnapped in ’09 and later found murdered. On the day that these kidnappings hit the press, a colleague of mine and I spent the better part of the day emailing and calling the office, pleading with them to either monitor the escalating hate speech or close the comment section altogether out of respect for the devastated families of the missing students. They all but ignored our requests - you can read the story and comments for yourself here. Meanwhile, Nell Nolan’s society column which chronicles high brow fetes of the White elite in New Orleans doesn’t endure such hostile defamation of its subjects because the comments section in the column are, as a rule, always closed (see here). This double standard creates an environment where the paper de facto condones readers attacking Blacks but goes great lengths to protect the wealthy White community from the same loathsome violations.
I agree with her suggestion, which she wrote in the comments to my Society post: "We need to hold the TP accountable. Either its open season on everyone or spend the resources to monitor the comments."

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