Earlier this week, the Rutgers Daily Targum ran an editorial entitled “Media exploits University tragedy.” The writer, however, seemed more interested in attacking members of the LGBT community and their allies for “turning his death into a push for gay rights.” How dare gay people express anger over what they view to be a preventable death of a young man who was victimized precisely because he was gay.
The editorial is so horrible that a paragraph can’t do it justice. But RU alum Aurora Schneider offered a good response in the Targum on Thursday. So did Hofstra student journalist Alexi Knock in that school’s newspaper.
Unable to defend the editorial’s substance, Friday Targum columnist Patrick Danner builds himself a straw man instead. Danner picks out the most hyperbolic, offensive comments (out of several hundred), declares them “more disgusting than the crime committed,” and rails for several paragraphs about these anonymous commenters. Only once does he acknowledge those who have offered civil, reasoned criticism of the editorial. If Danner thinks the comments on the Targum page are bad, he should read some of the comments to articles on NJ.com. When you allow people to comment anonymously on your website, and you don’t moderate those comments, you can not reasonably expect all of those comments to be civil. And you shouldn’t waste column inches complaining when your unreasonable expectations aren’t met.