Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sometimes You Wonder Why You Do It

As many of you know, I try to regularly write a column for the Toledo Free Press. I attempt to pick the topics for general interest, do any required research, and take great pains of the way the wording of the piece in the hopes of education or inspiration. This was the case with my most recent column, Atlas Shrugs.

Quite frankly this was a much more difficult piece than I normally write. It is a subject that I found of great importance, since I was in fact one of those who considered government employees on the short end of the compensation stick, did feel a modicum of guilt, and was rather dismayed to find out just how wrong I was. It was also challenging in that I quoted a number of facts and figures that must be thoroughly researched for accuracy, fact checked by Lisa Renee Ward at the TFP afterward, and carefully worded in order to make sure that no improper inference is drawn from them.

Imagine then, my consternation when I discovered that rather than commenting on the subject at hand, they were using my work in order to snipe at each other. While I am grateful that anyone is taking the time to read the pieces at all, I have to say that it's a disappointment to find so few of the comments were on topic. It is a further disappointment to find the piece used for personal assaults on each other by those using "screen names" instead of their own. To find my work used in such a way seems to make the effort a waste of the TFP's editorial space.

Tom Pounds and Michael Miller have been very good to me, and I enjoy putting the columns together for the Toledo Free Press and hopefully making an impact on a wider audience than I can in this blog. I have written yet again on a subject that I am likewise passionate about and that I hope will find its way into the pages of the TFP this week. I have to tell you however, that if the the hard work that I put into these columns is to be used as a platform to perpetrate this lack of civility, I may well reconsider such effort.


4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have seen such sniping on Face Book that wandered way off topic from the original post. That happens when you have 1500 friends like Tricia Lyons and everyone of them has an agenda. I enjoy reading your columns since you don't write about yourself or at least you leave out first person singular for several paragraphs unlike some of the others who write for the Free Press. Don't be disparaged because you don't see a positive comment from someone like me. We have family and jobs and only have time to read your essay. Write on because you do it so much better than I.

Anonymous said...

The era of reasoned political debate has ended. You cannot create political criticism without it devolving into sad and juvenile personal attacks. In fact, I think that it would be mighty naive to believe that even the actions of politicians or your other fellow commentators are motivated by more than the petty satisfaction of throwing stones at their perceived enemies. Perhaps it is a cynical view, but true journalism is dead. When you start with your premise and then you find your facts to fit, that is not research. Also, I find a strange irony in your dissatisfaction with your audience considering you frequently use your blog to commit ad hominem attacks against the local powers that be. Had they the ability to participate in a tit-for-tat debate, it would likely take the same tone.

Tim Higgins said...

Anonymous II,

I would disagree that rationed political debate has ended. I would further state that creating political criticism in order to inspire debate need not devolve into personal attacks by those commenting.

I have no problem with anyone criticizing what I write of attempting to dispute either my facts or the opinions that I make based on them. (which I would think is obvious since I let your comment stand) I do object however to having what I produce turn into a name calling contest between those making anonymous comments while ignoring the original subject.

As for irony, I find something similar (though perhaps disdain would be a better term) that you would insult the material in this blog anonymously. Then again, perhaps you couldn't come up with a clever screen name to do it under.

Roland Hansen said...

Tim,

Anonymous flaming trolls are the scum of the earth!

The second anonymous comment to this post is indicative that these people do not have sufficient courage or honesty of conviction. Otherwise, why not leave a real name. To attack you and/or your blog without providing an identity tells me that the commentator (male, female, or something in between) lacks total credibility and does not desire honest, open dialogue. It is obvious to me that this creature is not familiar with your writings or perspective; otherwise, it would know that you and I have in fact had gone on the record with differing yet respectful differences in political perspectives; and, we still realize that we both have a common goal of political and community improvement.