The Corner

On Being Fearless

Bill Kristol issues a challenge to Arianna. One point, if I may, about the tempest-in-a-teapot stirred up by Leftist bloggers who seem to claim that it’s illegitimate to cite web responses in talkback features as though they had been edited and selected by the website itself. The decision to run unmoderated forums of the kind used at the Huffington Post is itself an editorial decision. Its purpose is to give readers a sense of ownership in the site, to provide them with a sense of community…to make them co-authors of the site in a sense. It’s a way of making and keeping loyal readers. That’s fine, but if your readers are also going to be your authors, you’ve got to bear some responsibility, even minimal responsibility, for what they say on your site.

As one of first to link to the Huffington Post forum in which so many bemoaned the fact that Vice President Cheney survived the Afghan bombing, I chose not to cherry-pick quotations to make things sound as bad as possible. The very fact that something like half the commenters on the forum expressed disappointment was itself comment enough.

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