Oh, how I love Thursdays. My weekly digital issue of the Columbia Flier is delivered to my inbox and I revel in the experience of having a local newspaper. Yes, I'm a little bit crazy when it comes to local news coverage.
This week's editorial puzzles me a bit. Entitled "Countering hate and bias, rekindling county’s civility theme", it feels like as assemblage of platitudes and truisms. I can imagine someone saying, "We ought to say something about this." There's nothing innately wrong with it. There's just no "there" there.
But then came the sentence that almost made me laugh out loud.
The anonymity afforded on some websites has made it easier for bigots to cloak their identities while spewing bile.
I refer you to this post by Scott Ewart. A good place to see the spewing of bile would be in the comments section of the Howard County Times, where a certain toxic troll, widely believed to be (oh, never mind, I won't go there) has been making false and hurtful pronouncements about fellow Howard County residents. Up until today I didn't feel the need to write about this person in the blog, but today's editorial made the opportunity irresistible.
These particular comments are not in the vein of racist rants, but they are hateful, damaging, and many have violated the Howard County Times' own guidelines. My personal opinion is that commenters should be required to post under their own names. If you want to say hateful, nasty things then everyone should know who you are: your family, your neighbors, your employer.
I recently expressed my concerns on this issue to my County Council representative Calvin Ball. He reached out to the Howard County Times and let me know that they have something in the works to address this. It would have been great if they could have rolled that out along with this editorial and acknowledged that they have been a part of the problem.
Just a thought.