At first glance, we had no choice but to stand up and applaud for the Colorado athletic department; their public stance that they would not give press credentials to media organizations that allow anonymous and pseudonymous comments appeared to be a bold but principled stand against one of the most noxious aspects of new media: the anonymous attack. Yes, we know these are available at SbB, but you don’t see us begging for press credentials, either.
But then when we actually looked at what Colorado’s policy was, we realized it was little more than just the same arbitrary, pro-dead-tree provincialism that’s infected sports media during this transitional period. That principled stand against Internet tough guys? Yeah, not so much if you’re already running a newspaper.
Citing Colorado Sports Information Director Dave Plati … “The university will not provide press passes to Web sites lacking a print or broadcast component unless they disallow pseudonymous posts or anonymous comments.” Says Plati, “Credentials are a privilege, not a right, which a lot of people don’t realize.”
Right. It’s enough of a privilege that Colorado is singling out web sites that aren’t tied to newspapers or radio stations, despite the fact that those typs of websites usually invite far more noxious, unmoderated anonymous comments.
Further, it’s those websites and their parent companies that make up the vast majority of press pass requests to Buffalo games, and the SID seems to be aware of that:
Plati acknowledges that Colorado credentialing the DENVER POST — which allows anonymous commenting — creates “a little bit of a gray area.”
You don’t say!
And besides, everybody knows that the FANHOUSE.COM and YAHOO.COM comments are barely one step up from unintelligible, but it’s not like these sites are asking for credentials to Buffalo games; it’s cheaper just to get an AP license anyway.
No, as long as there’s large media outlets, there’s going to be robust commenting on those websites, and there’s going to be a significant portion of those people who do it solely so they can say the nastiest things they can imagine about famous people they’ve never met. It’s an ugly aspect of human nature that doesn’t normally see the light of day, and for good reason; people know better. That Colorado is trying to do something about that is admirable. That they’re not willing to jeopardize any of their 20th century media partners over it is kind of sad.