You won’t be able to leave a comment on the website of NPR anymore. The National Public Radio will be banning public comments.
It seems like an oxymoron but it’s the truth. Kotaku in Action spotted the news from over on the Washington Post, who in turn did an article based on a post made by Elizabeth Jensen over on the official NPR.org website.
Managing editor for digital news, Scott Montgomery, explained that all comments will be prohibited from being made on the site itself but will instead be allowed through social media such as Twitter and Facebook, saying…
“We’ve reached the point where we’ve realized that there are other, better ways to achieve the same kind of community discussion around the issues we raise in our journalism,”
“In relative terms, as we set priorities, it becomes increasingly clear that the market has spoken. This is where people want to engage with us. So that’s what we’re going to emphasize,”
Most people understand that you cannot have a nuanced conversation on Twitter using expressions limited to 140 characters. Montgomery must not be most people.
Given that NPR covers various topics that culturally, politically and globally significant, one would think that they would embrace the kind of comment discussions that spawn from these topics, but they feel as if they need to move away from the freedom of expression and the ability to afford users a platform in which to critique, comment or correct the author on the NPR website.
Essentially, this means that if any of the information is incorrect or false, those visiting the site will never know since a correction cannot be made or offered in the comment section.
The site also lists another reason for the closing of the comment section: cost.
According to the article, only 0.06% of users are commenting on NPR articles, and they further state…
“NPR’s commenting system — which gets more expensive the more comments that are posted, and in some months has cost NPR twice what was budgeted — is serving a very, very small slice of its overall audience.”
Realistically, comment sections are cheaper to maintain now than ever before. Heck, many sites monetize their comment sections with the free Disqus’ Engage API.
If you’re losing money running a comment section, you’re doing it wrong.
And for anyone running to NPR’s defense… they’re already using Disqus. As stated on the article…
“All existing comments on the site will disappear. That is because while comments look as though they exist on the NPR.org pages, they actually live within Disqus, an outside commenting platform used by NPR. So when the commenting software is removed, the archival comments go with it, Montgomery said, adding that it is not possible to remove the comment system but leave the old comments.”
So comments are going away, old comments are going away, and only social media interaction will be allowed.
Washington Post praised the move, which is lock-step with the current trend from a lot of Regressive sect tactics to limit free speech and lockdown opinions that don’t fit within the current media’s narrative to influence and force people into a specific line of thought.
Unfortunately NPR has been adopting Regressive talking points, even insofar as adopting the “#GamerGate is a harassment campaign”, with one article completely miss stepping the subject by a mile back in September of 2014, and another recently covering the controversy in South Korea that was published on July 29th, 2016 last month.
Sadly this is where many mainstream news organizations are heading, where censorship is the first line of defense and freedom of expression comes at the price of only expressing the “right” ideas.
(Main image courtesy of LisaM)