Teddy Bart: No comment

Monday, August 9, 2010 at 10:45pm

Somewhere along the way, modern media managers have determined that readers of their product should be able to comment on what they have read. This interactive capability has awakened a species of human that has lain dormant since its previous life of tar and feathering and burning at the stake. In its current incarnation, it is generically known as a blogger.

I have personally felt the wrath of these camouflaged snipers several times in my career as a journalist. The vile odium hurled by these veiled posters left me defenseless, as most other public figures are after their assault. Hiding behind anonymous screen names, these masked dart-throwers spewed enough online toxin to rival the BP oil poisoning of the Gulf. To attempt to engage, dialogue or rationalize with them is fruitless. Like a defendant in a kangaroo court, or the protagonist in a Kafka novel, the person in the box is guilty without discussion.

Why do reputable owners and editors encourage these foul after-story comments by unidentified gunslingers? The only benefit is derived by the arousal of the sick authors of this tripe, much like the arsonist returning to the scene of his crime getting turned on by witnessing the devastation he has caused.

This is not to castigate the entire blogging universe. Some blogs have deservedly become a legitimate part of the journalism landscape, contributing ideas, opinion and provoking thought. These blogs are written by people who know how to write, have been trained or trained themselves in the art of combining words cogently and proportionately to make a point, and are personally accountable for their work product. To them, writing is a craft, wherever the venue.

But blogs posted by people who simply have a computer, Internet access and a need for therapy are the dregs of that universe. They are the bloggers with nothing of good to say about anything or anybody. A cure for cancer could be reported and the reader comments written by these keyboard cutthroats would castigate the scientist who discovered the cure, blame the liberals for causing cancer in the first place, and warn that it is probably a hoax perpetrated by some anti-American sympathizers linked to the Obama administration.

I would suggest that responsible media owners and managers re-evaluate the current policy of publishing unfiltered blog posts on their websites. No responsible journalist files a story using an anonymous source. Letter writers must verify their identity for their comments to be published. Likewise, editors and publishers should insist that comments posted on their websites be attributed or otherwise rejected.

The reasoning behind the trend of reputable electronic and print newspapers to solicit unsigned reaction to stories baffles me. The concept is as oxymoronic as Peyton Manning asking Pacman Jones for life coaching.

Soapbox spouting is an age-old tradition. But one can see the person standing on the soapbox. Calling in to radio talk shows has become a part of the media spectrum. But callers are screened prior to offering their comments. And while hecklers at rallies are often disruptive, they are visible and identifiable. The bloggers in question here are more akin to graffiti scribblers than to any form of legitimate protester.

Oh! I hear it coming: First Amendment rights!

Of course I recognize that these idiots have a right to say what they are posting. Their free speech is a given. Without question they have the right to dumb down a well-crafted, well-researched and skillfully reported news story or commentary with their imbecilic follow-up.

My fault lies not with the gorillas but with the trainers who dangle raw meat outside their unlocked cages. The current open-door policy contributes nothing toward the public’s need and right to know except to further incite the growing national malady of anger and hostility.

 

Filed under: City Voices

48 Comments on this post:

By: jackandfinn on 8/10/10 at 1:10

Teddy,
I can tell that you believe yourself to be a legitimate part of the journalism landscape. You are so far above those whom you write about because, not only can you grandiloquently string large words together to make full sentences, you sign your name to them. Bravo. There’s only one problem. Your “article” contributes nothing toward the public’s need and right to know except to further incite the growing national malady of anger and hostility. Oh, wait. That sentence does sound incredibly familiar. The only real difference between you and those you condemn is that they hide their names with colorful aliases, and you hide your intent with passive-aggressive verbosity. That and you’re a Democrat, since all the hate-spewing, anonymous bloggers and comment posters of the world are Republicans, as you so logically state.

By: richgoose on 8/10/10 at 3:52

Teddy;

You obviously have a point. I am a journalism major who never used his degree professionally. Many times I have thought that were I a writer for either the CP or the Tennessean that I would be absolutely furious for being subjected to the verbage written by the some of these bloggers. No matter from what position in life they throw these comments I sincerely believe that control of these comments would be as wrong as the content of the posts left by the imbecile.

With all due respect to you. I resent the fact that you are allowed to spew your comments regarding the anti-Obama people without rebuttal. No matter how vile the rebuttal may be you opened the door for any venom that may result.

By: bruingeek on 8/10/10 at 6:52

Coming from the king of interview ambushes, I consider your commentary laughable. How many times during a pre-show conversation for Teddy Bart's Nashville did you 'relax' your victim with a list of items to be covered (or not covered), then 'bam', your first question is some sort of "Have you quit beating your wife?" kind of question. Yes, you did that without a veil of anonymity, but you must take responsibility for teaching many who viewed your show (pre-blog era) to be antagonistic, snarky, and disingenuous. Just how much difference is there between a "camouflaged sniper" and a "chameleon sniper"?

Please re-read your last paragraph and look in the mirror. Are you the 'gorilla' or the 'trainer'?

By: drusie on 8/10/10 at 6:54

Thought Teddy Bart was once host to a popular call-in radio show. His callers were anonymous non-journalists. Maybe I mis-remember this.

By: Loner on 8/10/10 at 7:04

As Harry Truman is reputed to have said, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen". Those who make their living as wordsmiths should be prepared to defend their product, regardless of who is writing the critique.

I think that Mr. Bart dos not know the difference between a blogger and a poster. Bloggers write and maintain a web log - their personal "soap box" or diary. Posters are people who post online comments on a blog, LTE, news item, etc. In this case, Teddy is the blogger and I am acting as a poster.

Since I am not local, I Googled "Teddy Bart". I discovered that he is a long-time radio and TV personality in Nashville, TN. I also discovered that our pompous, high-minded Mr. Bart was caught up in a police sting in 2009; Teddy tried to solicit a prositute, according to this article:

http://www.nashvillepost.com/news/2009/3/6/teddy_bart_arrested

Am I a "graffiti scribbler" for bringing that up? Did Teddy use his real name when soliciting a prostitute, or did he also use an alias, like the posters he despises.

Teddy is no spring chicken, if he is screwing whores at his age, the guy probably needs professional help, and Viagra.

Ted, time to retire, Buddy, you've been "outed" by the Metro police.

By: govskeptic on 8/10/10 at 7:05

While agreeing with about 10% of the letter, I totally disagree with your
assurance that all professional and trained journalist are doing things the
right way. We all know that both print and TV media very often give
biased stories often leaving off "half the story". They, of course, have the
hugh microphone versus any blogger on the internet. While certainly
not a perfect forum it does (sometimes) brings a little accountability to
that story or particular publication's content. A little thicker skin should
not affect the journalist's psyche to a large degree!

By: Kosh III on 8/10/10 at 7:42

I agree that some POSTERS are nasty and insulting. But others of us only want some civil conversation. Lighten up.

By: girliegirl on 8/10/10 at 7:56

@Jackandfinn: ditto

By: girliegirl on 8/10/10 at 8:00

And by the way, the day after the bombing incident at the Atlanta Olympics in 96, a few of us commented on air (local computer/internet call-in show) that it would be a great chance for everyone to go down to the Olympics and take advantage of the suddenly-available-now-affordable event tickets. Bart scolded us. And yes, I went anyway, and was able to see up close some of the world's greatest athletes. The advice may've been insensitive, in his opinion, but it was 100% correct!

By: frodo on 8/10/10 at 8:12

I guess Teddy has been hanging out with Liz Garrigan, who also thinks we are a bunch of nut jobs not worthy of the pixels it takes to publish our comments. Liz and Teddy own the microphone, or actually in Teddy's case it kind of comes and goes. And maybe that is Teddy's problem. His career as a pontificate has had its ups and downs. Perhaps he grasps the microphone more jealously than some. The point is whether those who own the microphone by some combination of money, raw power and the ability to string sentences together should let us in on it. It is really simply a business decision. If City Paper cuts us off tomorrow, that is their right. I certainly don't want that privilege enforced by some new Obama executive edict or decision of his new brand of "make it up as we go" judicial appointments. Frankly, I don't know why the City Paper allows us to go on like this, but I'm glad they do. And it keeps me coming back to the City Paper. I haven't subscribed to Pravda On The Cumberland for ten years (that's The Tennessean for the newbies in town). That paper is a blight on my driveway. City Paper has drawn me in and made me feel welcome. I feel some sense of loyalty. And that is good business. May business continue to be free to make such decisions. May we, the pot-shot crowd, continue to be free to go where we are welcome. And may Teddy get back on the radio, where he belongs.

By: BenDover on 8/10/10 at 9:06

Ahhh... blow it out your @$$, Teddy.

By: AmyLiorate on 8/10/10 at 9:19

HA Ben!

I'll agree with Drusie's comment.

Isn't Teddy old enough to learn that you can't group everyone into one lump?

He acts like each person online hides behind a screen name and does nothing but spew vile comments.

Maybe he should hang out sometime and learn who is goofy and who is trying to have a rational discussion. It's safe and cathartic most of the time.

By: Loner on 8/10/10 at 9:29

Is Teddy's disdain for the blogosphere related to his being snagged in an online police sting? Once burnt, twice shy?.

Ben, very concise and articulate...no sugar-coating on your post, LOL.

Frodo, great post, I too wonder why the NCP tolerates our pugnacious posts; maybe they actually believe in free speech and open forums for online, real-time debate.

I suffered under the Clint Brewer purge and banishment; let us hope that the NCP continues to move forward.

Diversity of opinion is a good thing, not a bad thing; it's what gives this nation its strength and power. Tolerating diversity is not easy at times, but the rewards are real.

Thank you, NCP, for hosting this online community; I truly appreciate the privilege.

By: Loner on 8/10/10 at 9:34

Write on, Amy. Teddy needs to come online here right now and defend his position, the poor devil probably doesn't lnow how to find this site or how to register etc. Bless his heart.

By: Kosh III on 8/10/10 at 10:38

By: BenDover on 8/10/10 at 9:06
Ahhh... blow it out your @$$, Teddy.
-------------------

Aren't you the one always whinging about how nasty and insulting liberals are? Could you not express yourself in a civil and polite manner? You just proved his point.

By: JohnGalt on 8/10/10 at 10:46

Is Teddy Bart his legal name?

By: gdiafante on 8/10/10 at 10:48

Good point, Kosh.

Seems to me that most here took the bait and proved the article. Interesting.

By: Loner on 8/10/10 at 10:57

It's Theodore Bartkowski, John Galt, and we all know that you are Rand's bastard issue, drop the facade.

My real name? Bond. James Bond.

By: AmyLiorate on 8/10/10 at 11:06

Wonder if Ted is related to Chuck Bartowski?

http://humordistrict.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/Chuck-Bartowski.jpg

See Teddy, this stuff can be fun. Lighten up and join us for a while.

I quit listening to your radio program years ago when you had some guy discussing how often people should poop and that it shouldn't smell!
I knew then and there that you and Karla's show had taken a dump!

Fellow readers, I am NOT kidding about this!

But please Ted, join the "blogosphere", embrace technology, make a witty comment on the forum. Bring some intellect into the pool and see if it's a better place.

Consider this our Round Table :D

By: Kosh III on 8/10/10 at 11:11

But Amy, mine does NOT stink. Honest, for real, cross my heart, stack of bibles..........

By: AmyLiorate on 8/10/10 at 11:13

Memory Lane:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBId-mByk3A

I miss Bill Hall the most!

I sometimes catch Huel Houser on PBS with "California Gold".

Loner, you can see and hear Teddy here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bJ_n_gHE4Q

By: Loner on 8/10/10 at 11:17

Loved the link to the geek, Amy. Thanks for the poop on Teddy Bart's agenda...Google did not list that one.

Scat freak, or fecophile, we'll find out, right after this....

By: Loner on 8/10/10 at 11:26

Thanks, Amy, I viewed the You-Tube video, That was shot back in 1985. Bart looked lke a senior citizen back then, that was 25 years ago. I hope the hooker gave him the senior discount, same for the Viagra scrip....the old dog is still in the hunt...so to speak....you gotta admire that.

By: HokeyPokey on 8/10/10 at 11:27

Thanks, folks, for generally demonstrating exactly what Teddy Bart was trying to describe.

Bart's biggest mistake was confusing browsers with posters, go ask your grandmother if she knows the difference, then maybe you might give Bart a bit of slack.

I'm sorry he didn't develop the First Amendment piece better. I suspect that most of you (esp the most abusive) believe you're exercising your First Amendment right when you post here, but you're not. NCP is exercising its rights to be free from government intrusion, and you are currently under its wing. But if NCP changes its policy on anonymous postings, you could well find yourselves out in the cold, because you really don't have a First Amendment Right to post here.

Bart's comments were directly mostly at publishers who allow rude and abusive behaviour in their comments column. A growing number of them are realizing that allowing drivel in the guise of discussion doesn't do anything for their image and they're changing policy.

HP

By: localboy on 8/10/10 at 11:40

Go drusie go

By: silverhaired on 8/10/10 at 11:54

Teddy,

Thank you for sharing your thoughtful comments.

Bet you didn't expect many affirming comments to your commentary. However, despite the new standards of social conduct, I still try to abide by the saying, 'If you don't have anything nice to say, ....".

I agree that many postings are presented in an uncivil manner and often with malicious intent. It's indeed unfortunate that the positive journalistic benefits derived from anonymous posting are increasingly outweighed by the negatives. Eventually a breaking point will be reached and restrictions will be imposed on both the guilty and innocent.

I do, however, differ with you on your willingness to give the 'gorrillas' a pass and to put the burden on the 'trainers'. Both need to be held accountable. The acceptance that certain people are unable to, and can't be expected to control their behavior, is bad for everyone. The poorly-behaved know they've been designated as 'gorrillas' and often add resentment and retribution to their list of behavioral shortcomings. The 'trainers' can easily adopt a social elitist mentality and, with good intentions, believe that they have a right and need to be the full time guardians of the 'gorrillas'.

Finally, at the risk of violating the "If you don't have anything nice to say......" guideline, I would challenge you (and all of us) to restrain from using derogatory names when referencing others. Refering to people as 'idiots' and 'inbecillic' detracted, rather than added, to your commentary.

Kind regards.

By: BenDover on 8/10/10 at 11:56

Stop taking yourself so seriously, Kosh.

The problem is that Bart arrogantly dismisses (by omission) any real value that is added by a convenient discussion of the ideas presented. It is like He, from on high, with his wisdom and insight gives us all that is necessary to consider. This, implicitly exudes a contempt for the reader... a superiority that is above criticism by the ignorant masses.

Maybe he wants to subject himself to peer review by only people equal to his stature and shared experience; but that offers a substantial amount of group-think due to a large level of inbreeding in the credentialed media as in any field of 'experts' (due first to a career calling and reinforced with only the ideas of mostly mutually interested people). As a teacher increasingly finds education most important and a police officer increasingly finds public safety most important; people drawn to journalism and media tend to want to save the world with their pen or their microphone. I prefer someone make their bent known rather than rely on a mystique of journalistic integrity; but I can live with it as long as their work is open to criticism. This way their sins of omission can quickly be brought to light as well as their sins of commission. This is far more likely to happen in a climate where a loud-dog insider like Bart has only the bogeyman bloggers and commenters at which to direct his wrath rather than an identifiable 'reader' who he can publicly embarrass for not having an editing staff; and then publicly dismiss as a kook.

For many years the media has controlled much of the public mindset with fantastic front page headlines; often later to be debunked -- with the retraction reported on by some unknown ombudsman on 4D below the fold. And political correctness dominates by obliterating many social customs and mores in favor of a news-speak, polished smooth, so as not to offend anyone. Now, the other side of a position is voiced and considered almost immediately; and to me the benefits of this far outweigh the costs of the criticisms not being vetted through an official, credentialed editorial review staff.

I guess what frustrates me most is the arrogance that suggests that the average person is not smart enough to wade through the debate and to discern, based on what is presented; based his own experience and his place in society; and based on common sense; what is right and what is wrong.

By: AmyLiorate on 8/10/10 at 12:00

Yeah Hokey you can count on the internet to let you down every time.

Nothing is going to change about that anytime soon. I do like forums where there is an Ignore button. The people with half a brain understand that there is an owner of these sites. That we do not have a right to post on someone else's property.

But for any press related media to curb people's expressions would go against the spirit of the right to speech. That is the right to freely debate and better understand your fellow man. And to put up with the occasional nutcase... but such is life.

There are Terms of Service. I'm OK with the trolls, spammers and just plain crude people being banned in order that we all have a more civil place. But Teddy painted with a wide brush. In this media he can't count on a producer to cut off the phoneline for him when he is loosing an argument. Maybe that is what he finds so frustrating?

By: Loner on 8/10/10 at 12:03

Is the Hokey Pokey really what it's all about? You can have your gold and your diamonds too, all I want is a ring-dang-do.

HP steps in to defend poor, old-man Bart. I admire that.

HP wrote, "Bart's biggest mistake was confusing browsers with posters,"
Did HP mean to say that Bart confused legitimate posters with trolls? "Browsers" are part of one's internet software package, they don't post anything. Did HP confuse surfing and surfers with browsers and browsing?

True, the web hosting entities can delete, purge, banish, censor and otherwise trample on the idea of free speech; but when they do, their reputations for fairplay, tolerance and honesty all suffer the consequences. They end up as choirmasters singing to the choir.

By: Loner on 8/10/10 at 12:21

Ted Bart, or whoever he is, penned this missive attacking the integrity of online posters and bloggers. The response has been largely appropriate and reasonably civil, IMO. Bart took aim at the posting public, he's getting exactly what he deserves. He could come online and defend his position, I conclude the guy is either afraid or computer-inept, maybe both.

Amy, thanks to your video link, I can see that "Bartkowski" has Slavic features in his face...(it takes one to know one) If the guy is of Slavic descent, why try to hide it? Was it the Polish jokes in the 80's?

Come clean "Ted Bart", what name is on your birth certificate?

By: BirdDog on 8/10/10 at 1:26

Teddy,
Betsy Phillips not only has a better understanding than you of the distinctions between bloggers and commenters, she's also a better writer.
http://www.nashvillescene.com/pitw/archives/2010/08/10/a-brief-internet-primer-for-teddy-bart

By: AmyLiorate on 8/10/10 at 1:38

LOL BirdDog, you should know the adage: Old dog, new trick.

By: BenDover on 8/10/10 at 1:55

"Without question they have the right to dumb down a well-crafted, well-researched and skillfully reported news story or commentary with their imbecilic follow-up"

I'm going to have to nominate this one for a Pulitzer.

By: pswindle on 8/10/10 at 2:05

Why is BenDover a mean ole white man? What happened in your life? Oh I know, we have a President Obama.

By: judyboodo@yahoo.com on 8/10/10 at 2:29

judyboodo How do we know that this letter writer is "the Teddy Bart"? Maybe I'm the real Teddy Bart. Maybe you, and you know who you are, are the real Teddy Bart. I find this confusing, and to quote Morgan Freeman, "I have a lot of questions.

By: HokeyPokey on 8/10/10 at 2:31

Ben, there really is no such thing as "the media."
That term is so wrong for so many reasons.

Amy, the term you're looking for is "any press-related medium."

Loner, I should have said "Bart confuses bloggers with posters," I stand corrected.

HP

By: BenDover on 8/10/10 at 3:28

Quite the prism you view the world through there, pswindle.

By: mydorazio on 8/10/10 at 3:55

Nick D'Orazio
Chandler, Arizona

You do not need to know the name of the commenter to respond and refute his criticism. If you are willing to respond to criticisms, there is a convention that has emerged on YouTube, which is to preface your response with @[avatar of commenter]. So for example he could have responded thus:

"@hokeypokey: The problem with moderated discussions is that inevitably the editor will disallow valid criticism by saying it is inappropriate. It's the way of all tyrannies."

Having said that, I still think Teddy or Theodore or whatever he goes by has written a very bad column that betrays an old-guard fear of the web and its ability to spot idiocy when it sees it.

By: 742180 on 8/10/10 at 4:53

No doubt that the 'ex'tinguished Mr. Bart prefers one way communication. He gets to share his speil on any subject and no one can reply. Things changed somewhere along the way 'Teddy', deal with it.
Why in the heck is the City Paper giving this _________ (fill in the blank) any Ink anyway? The City Paper itself is changing, and I'm not sure it for the better.

By: HokeyPokey on 8/10/10 at 5:12

My perspective on Mr. Bart is that he has always been most comfortable with the contemporaneous media in which he worked. In my experience, new media channels have always presented a bit of a learning curve to the gentleman.

HP

By: Kosh III on 8/11/10 at 7:05

"Come clean "Ted Bart", what name is on your birth certificate?"

Be patient Loner, it takes time to get a birth certificate from Kenya. :)

By: budlight on 8/11/10 at 9:47

girliegirl on 8/10/10 at 8:00
And by the way, the day after the bombing incident at the Atlanta Olympics in 96, a few of us commented on air (local computer/internet call-in show) that it would be a great chance for everyone to go down to the Olympics and take advantage of the suddenly-available-now-affordable event tickets. Bart scolded us. And yes, I went anyway, and was able to see up close some of the world's greatest athletes. The advice may've been insensitive, in his opinion, but it was 100% correct!

AND if anyone can sniff out a deal, girlie can. I truly admire you girlie. AND I'm so so sorry that someone said I was you, cause we both know "it ain't so".

By: Tull on 8/11/10 at 12:21

Amazing how the left leaning liberals cried "free speech" this and "first amendment" that for 8 years when they wanted to personally attack someone BUT now you can't say that about (whoever) that's racist, that's insensitive, that's any number of excuses. We all too often attack the messenger and disregard the message. Blogging is like cable TV if you don't want to read the blog turn the page.

By: Loner on 8/12/10 at 6:35

Hey Tull, how does it feel, Buddy? Those who crticize Obama run the risk of being labelled "racists". Those who criticize the so-called "special relationship" beween the USA and the Jewish state in Palestine have been labelled "anti-Semites", Holocaust deniers", "terrorist sympathizers", "Arab lovers", "Nazis" etc. etc.Abe Foxman of the ADL is constantly looking for reasons to justify his well-paid job, just ask Oliver Stone.

Name-calling seems to be rather effective. Political correctness prevents any meaningful discussion of certain issues. The mainstream media live in constant fear of the faux pas and/or the lawsuit, thus the "news" is highly filtered and sanitized.

By: kenwinter on 8/12/10 at 11:47

Thanks, Teddy. Well written and intelligently argued. Incivility is a major part of US decline. If it's not soon tempered - from the largest corporate and governmental levels to the smallest individual and community ones - we will not have the unity and allegiance to support climbing out.

By: Magnum on 8/12/10 at 1:51

I see his point in some ways. I often see comments from posters that I know would not be said in person. I often assume these must be teenagers posting with the intent of getting a rise out of someone. Unfortunately, my assumption is probably often wrong. Having said that, the great part about anonomous posting is that one can take a stance without the worry of retribution from someone who disagrees with that stance (whether that be a boss, friend, etc.). It's like the ultimate back hand to the politically correct movement. Our society no longer tolerates open, honest debate free of consequence...so it no longer exists. While we have to live with bigots, jerks and generally ignorant people on these posts, at least we get to see honesty that otherwise would be hidden under the surface.

By: artsmart on 8/13/10 at 7:29

Teddy:

Unfortunately for the press, all the forms of media now allow people to find out information they never had access to in the past. What you are seeing is people that are fed up with corruption and coverup by the Good ol Boy network. If the press would have just reported the truth rather than their version you would see much less hatred.

By: skeptic1 on 8/13/10 at 8:56

I agree with artsmart on this issue. Some of the comments to articles are definately venting by people who are fed up with coverups and corruption. Some commenters actually have accurate insider information that they wouldn't reveal otherwise. On the flipside, many of the purported news items we see published are poorly disguised, self-serving press releases. When Mr. Bart needs to vent his frustrations, he can post comments too...or just buy an ad.