Saturday, February 12, 2011

All Things Avs blog: Dater tells his readers to "Grow Up." Readers take advice, switch to hockey coverage written by adults.

After the obligatory Video Of Forsberg Practicing, and some quick (and as it turns out, accurate) speculation that Forsberg would play against Columbus and that Foote would miss yet another Jackets home game with an injury, Dater goes back to the well to respond to the comments posted after his previous blog entry regarding Anderson leaving the team for personal reasons. 

Yes I know what it is, but am not going to report it because, geez, it’s personal. Not everybody has to know every little thing in this world. People speculating on this blog that it’s for this reason or that reason, or making up spurious accusations what it might be, I have two words to say:
Grow up. 

It’s not a big deal, and he’ll be back soon. Making up stuff about what might be wrong with him is going to eventually lead me down the path of blocking all commenters. I know it’s just a couple bad apples kind of thing, but knock it off.

It seems that Dater knows he has once again crosses the loosely-drawn but critically important line between reporter and fan. This time, it caused some trouble, and he handled it poorly. If Dater was really interested in the concept of the public "not knowing every little thing in this world," one would think he'd realize that this includes the public not really needing to know that Dater knows what's going on but is nobly refusing to report it.

I read a lot of those comments about Anderson, and many of them were indeed ridiculous (he's hurt, he's about to be traded, he has a drug problem, etc.). But Dater should realize that if he taunts people with the "I know something you don't know" childishness, people will often react in kind... and when they do, the smart thing is to not dignify them with a response. Dater, though, does the opposite: he keeps the ball rolling, because it gives him another opportunity to explain that he does, in fact, know what's going on, and you do not. His message to his readers who commented on something that he himself commented on first: "Grow up." If ever somebody should listen to his own advice, it's Dater here.

Perhaps the most troubling about this blog entry is that there were a handful of people, including myself, who called him on this one. I believe I wrote something to the effect of, "The next time you have a secret that you don't want anybody to know about, try this: Don't tell anybody that you know a secret." That comment, along with all other comments critical of Dater, were deleted from the comments section.

Now, I do not know if Dater himself deleted those comments, or if it was somebody else at the Post. But, with Dater having already threatened in that very blog entry that he might resort to blocking commenters, it doesn't look good. The question of ethics on a discussion board is a murky one, but generally speaking, unless a comment is harassing somebody, or using threatening or vulgar speech, it is allowed. The Post has every right to control their comment section the way they see fit, and I'm not going to call it "censorship," but it's certainly telling that comments questioning Dater's professionalism or ethics (journalistic ethics, that is) were removed.

Grade: D Another video of Forsberg skating, which are always nice to see. I do appreciate Dater's efforts putting stuff like this on the blog, you can't really get it anywhere else. But the gear change to rehash the Anderson thing, putting all the blame on the people who really just followed his gossipy lead, and the deletion of comments critical of Dater's handling of the situation, drags this effort down quickly.

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