Two things happened yesterday that, on the surface, would seem unrelated.
Paul Gray, the bass player for Slipknot, and Shalom Rubashkin, the former head of Agriprocessors, I believe, never met. Yet they are linked in a way with the announcement that Mr. Gray died of an "accidental overdose" of drugs and Rabbi Rubashkin was given 27 years in a federal prison.
The link is the sordid and vile way in which "readers" of the Des Moines Register react to the stories with their anonymous comments. The other "link" is that publisher, Laura Hollingsworth, of the Des Moines Register would allow this hate speech to soil the regal reputation once enjoyed by this newspaper.
Gone is any assurance of civility. The "new vogue" of a dying medium is to lower itself to the likes of the National Enquirer and other supermarket pulp...only here we see it on-line rather than in print.
Why? Traffic. Traffic gets counted and the Des Moines Register knows the higher the count the more money they can demand for on-line ads. So they allow and encourage what is no better than mindless rants of befuddled, hateful, lonely people seeking a place for their rancid voices. It's not journalism and it's not in the tradition of this once proud paper. It's about...money.
There is an old story about a man who asks a woman, who he just met at a party, if she will have sex with him for a million dollars. She thinks about it and says, "Sure". Then the man says, "Will you have sex with me for fifty-dollars?" Shocked the young woman snaps back, "That's an insult! What do you think...that I'm a whore?" "No", says the man, "We've already established that, now we're just haggling over the price."
Makes sense now huh?