Monday, June 19, 2017

An Open Letter to DNAinfo.com Regarding Its Racist Comment Section

Dear DNAinfo.com:

I’m done reading your Web site.

Over the past few years, you’ve established yourself as an outlet for breaking news in Chicago, mostly stories about crime and business openings/closings.

Based on the content of your comment sections, however, I cannot continue reading your site. Your comment sections are a haven for bigots, trolls, and ignorant, angry people who have nothing to contribute to public conversation beyond their own bile.

This is especially true regarding comments on stories whose subjects are Black or Latino. Depending on the moment’s headline, these groups are routinely disparaged using insulting terms usually seen on White Nationalist hate group sites, not local news and culture outlets. The most despicable comments I’ve read on the Internet have been on your Web site.

This is not an issue of free speech as guaranteed by the United States Constitution. That document protects citizens from government censorship. You, on the other hand, are a private, for-profit entity that has a choice as you what content gets displayed on your Web site.

Currently, you are providing a forum for ignorance and hate. Either you don’t care that it’s there, or the comments reflect the kind of audience you want for your publication. Not knowing your staff personally, I can’t tell which for sure.

What I can tell you is that I can no longer support your business with my page clicks and attention. I hope sometime in the future you will make different choices as to what kind of environment you create in your name, Until then, I’ll be getting my Chicago news elsewhere and encouraging others to do the same.

Sincerely,
C. Ewing

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