Sunday, November 07, 2010

Case in Point

We have mentioned, several times now, how much we enjoy Get Religion. We have also mentioned how comically off-target the "comments" section gets. Readers, eager to express their own political and theological opinions, have a hard time remembering to talk about journalism. Sometimes, they go a little bit over the top.

Well, hoo-boy. You couldn't make up a more perfect exchange than the comments to Brad Greenberg's defense of Keith Olbermann. (Okay, it's not actually a defense of Olbermann. It's an attack on MSNBC for suspending him, given the fact that Olbermann makes no pretense of journalistic impartiality.) It's crazy time, but in a sort of funny way

At last count, there were 41 comments. Of these, several were gentle reminders from Terry and Brad that the discussion was supposed to be about journalism. A couple of others were gentle reminders from readers to Brad, that the whole site is supposed to be about religion. As for the rest, well, most are are evaluations of Olbermann's work, both pro and con. Many make comical use of punctuation and capital letters. We would clip a few for your entertainment, but (a) they're probably protected by copyright, and (b) they really are funnier when read as a series.

Our favorite, however, is the 41st. Moments after Brad admonishes his readers that "this is bordering on out of control" -- bordering? -- a gentleman named Tim Streit offers the most over-the-top comment so far. It talks about "Keith Overweight" and "Rachel Madcow", and refers to their audience as "kleenex blowin wheez bags" (spelling original, and there's plenty more where it came from). Obviously, this is not the reasoned discussion of God-beat journalism that GR tries to offer. On the contrary, it is the admixture of partisan conviction, bad manners and worse writing that one associates with the bitter dregs of the Internet. (Although, in fairness, it also sounds a little bit like Olbermann describing O'Reilly, so we give Tim some tentative points for parody).

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