The Importance of Comments Sections in Bringing ROLLING STONE to Justice
November 04, 2016, 07:03 PM
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Following the jury’s finding of “actual malice” in the libel suit against Rolling Stone over Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s hate hoax article “A Rape on Campus,” commenter eded writes:

Steve,

What does this story say about the value of newspaper comment sections that now seem to be on the way out?

I recall that the way UVA hoax really broke was when every journalist was praising the story, anonymous commenters were the only ones raising doubts. When Bradley wrote his blog post it was commenters linking to it in the newspaper comboxes that gave it an audience. Bradley was an obscure journalist writing a blog to fill his time between jobs. I don’t think it would have been widely read if it hadn’t been for you, and newspaper commenters. Every newspaper I read that did a story on the RS article seemed to a have link to Bradley’s blog post in the comment section.

Without comment sections does the article even get exposed as hoax or just take longer?

On a side note, it’s worth pointing out how many professional journalists have complained that Donald Trump is basically a comment section running for President.

[Comment at Unz.com]