TV should ignore lunatic Internet rants
John McCain's pick of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for vice president has once again focused attention on the surprising number of lunatics who inhabit cyberspace.
The Internet electrons announcing Palin for VP were barely dry before the crazies began to crawl out of the webwork with the usual psychotic blathering and conspiratorial dementia, not to mention the really, really perverted musings of degenerate sickos.
That was predictably followed by the ravings of TV talking heads outraged that anyone dared to publish such shocking excreta on the Internet, thereby assuring that the shocking excreta got a lot more attention than if the cable commentators had simply ignored it.
I can't even tell you what some bloggers said about Palin on the Internet because it cannot be published in a family newspaper.
But Palin isn't the only target of such cybersmut. Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama also has been savaged with nauseating invective and intentionally false characterizations of his background. So much so, his campaign has put up its own Web site to refute some of the dumber allegations. And like the right-wing cable gasbags complaining about the Palin bashers, left-wing cable gasbags also rage against the Internet loonies smearing their guy, making sure that the wackos got all the attention they craved.
The thing is, these lunatics have always been out there. But they used to have to leave their vile rants on public bathroom walls and everyone ignored them. Now, they post their political and personal porno on the Internet. And simply because it is scrawled electronically on Web message boards instead of bathroom stalls, the mainstream media curiously sees fit to broadcast it. Now THAT'S insane. Just because the lunatics are using electrons instead of Magic Markers doesn't mean their demented views merit distribution to the general public.
These Internet weirdos have the right of free speech, and I would be the last to suggest they be censored. But the TV networks and cable news shows need to recognize it for what it is: bathroom-wall idiocy from an extremely small group of mentally unhinged individuals. The advanced technology of the Internet does not imbue these offensive rantings with any sort of legitimacy. Why can't the Bill O'Reillys and Keith Olbermanns of the television commentary world realize that not all blogs or Web sites are created equal? Some simply need to be ignored.
Ironically, there actually are Web sites devoted to what is actually written on bathroom walls by the lunatic fringe. And there's some pretty funny stuff on them. But I can't tell you where they are, or else I'd be just as guilty of giving them unwarranted media attention as the TV talking heads do.
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