What some people post on Facebook—would they say it to your face?

“Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us own our own responsibility for the future.”

Throughout this election year, I must have written a half-dozen blog entries I eventually decided against posting—just because I didn’t want to be accused of crossing the line from observant, neutral journalist to opinionated commentator siding with one candidate over the other.

Even a post I had planned to publish on the Monday evening before the big day, a Kumbaya, conciliatory plea advocating, regardless of the outcome, an end to the political party gamesmanship—even that one I left unpublished (though I regretted it when, on Tuesday night, every network news analyst called for the same thing).

Then I fell off the self-censoring wagon and landed face first in the mud of social media.

On Wednesday, the day after the election, my Facebook friend Kathie posted what I thought was a timeless quote from JFK on the subject of reaching across the aisle. Beneath her post, Sandra commented, referring to President Obama as “Osama.”  I couldn’t help myself. I commented on Sandra’s comment, pointing out that regardless of whether one supports or opposes Mr. Obama, the unnecessary ethnic slur and other name calling only weakens one’s argument as well as credibility.

The next thing I know Sandra and other “friends” participating in the discussion are pouncing on me as if I were a pigeon tossed into a pile of hungry cats. Sandra labeled me a member of the “liberal lame stream media” who can’t put together two words “without a teleprompter.”

Now, I’ve never met Sandra.  She lives in Arizona.  She’s never seen me at work; whereas you have, and if I’ve done my job properly over the past 30 years, you really don’t know my political views. Old school journalists like me take pride in maintaining our neutrality on the air, and often off the air, as well (It can drive friends and spouses nuts!).

But not knowing my work, my politics, or me, didn’t stop Sandra.

Then again, when have you ever seen an Internet comment such as, “You know. You make a good point. I didn’t think of that.  Thank you for pointing that out.”

No. It’s more like “Oh yeah? The last time I checked this is a free country! And your mom has three big toes!”

Two things I’ve learned about social media: Don’t talk politics with your friends on Facebook even if they agree with you, because their friends may not. Also, some people will post things on the Internet they would never say to someone in person.

Nathan Bransford, one of the top pilots in the Blogosphere,  posted about jerks on the Internet. It’s worth your read. You may want to share it with some of your friends…

(BTW. Sixty Minutes put together a good piece on both Republicans and Democrats needing to put aside the interests of their respective parties and look after the interests of the country. Read or watch it here).



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14 responses to “What some people post on Facebook—would they say it to your face?

  1. Donna Holmes

    I watch you every morning and have never known you to be anything but impartial and professional. I’m dismayed at the plethora of trolls on every media site, and the hateful language that passes for dialogue these days. Don’t take Sandra’s words personally – like you said, she doesn’t even know you.

  2. rick

    Kevin I do enjoy watching your work, but the main stream media has ruined it for all the good reporters out there. They don’t even try to hide their contempt for the GOP and gravel at the feet of this President. You think calling obama, osama is bad, but did you step up when the left was calling President Bush Hitler and calling him a war criminal? Showing a movie about his assasanation? The people now know we can not trust the media for a fair report when it comes to Obama or the Republicans.

    P.S. 60 mins is so far left, that they can’t even make right hand turns we’ll driving. lol

    • Rick, you must have read my mind when I was putting together this post. Actually, it was the reference to President Obama that reminded me of the inappropriate description of President Bush; the burning in effigy thing just turned a worthwhile debate over issues into a circus and weakened the protesters’ credibility.
      The media must be tough but fair to all sides, and that’s why I recommend the 60 Minutes piece. Steve Croft was as hard on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as he was on Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

  3. Colleen

    Well said Kevin!

  4. TJ

    Im glad you stood up for what is right! I’m tired of all the terrible names and insinuations from all my “Christian” friends about anyone that supported Obama. What happened to civility?

  5. Kathie

    I have known you for 30 years and you have always been a neutral, fair member of the media, but you were right when you said off the air as a friend you make me nuts! lol Right now I am afraid to say anything for fear it will get Sandra’s panties in a wad. lol

  6. i’ve been a bit confused and disappointed in the conversational ‘faire’ on the blogosphere too. i put together some basic ‘house keeping’ rules for mine that summ up the ‘ideal’ but you’re right, people are sometimes jerks because of the anonymity and lack of accountability that exists. water seems to reach the lowest level too often and tru exchanges of ideas and perspectives in a respectful and polite tone seem few and far between.
    keep hoping and writing. let’s be the ones who example the best for the rest.

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