I am increasingly disappointed in the tone of dialogue being posted by certain Newsviners, who for now shall go nameless. I prize the the existence of a forum for people to exchange differing views, and to hold our leaders to task with freewheeling debate and expression of opinions. I have no issue with strong and challenging language when it comes to debating issues and opinions, as long as it is directed to the issues and opinions, specifically. I understand that there are other Newsviners who will take strong exception to some of my views, as I do to theirs, or the views of others, and that emotions can sometimes color the expression of their views. Fine. That's what makes it interesting.
However, I am very disturbed by an increasingly hostile group of individuals who, rather than debating issues--even stridently--and arguing reasonably against the opinions of others--are instead resorting to the use of ad hominems--groundless personal attacks on other Newsviners--complete with inappropriate name calling, charges of less than savory motives, accusations of dishonesty, etc., all because others disagree with their views or because they don't approve of the way in which those views, per se, were expressed.
Within the past several days, I have been called a racist (as far from the truth as it can possibly be), a liar (because I decided to respond to another Newsviner's question after earlier stating that I was withdrawing from a conversation), a troll (am still trying to figure that one out, particularly since trolls are, by definition, considered friendly) and lacking in integrity (who knows why) by other Newsviners, all because I dared to disagree with them on a controversial subject. This has come from people who don't even know me. I have seen other Newsviners suffer the same consequences, and understand that they are also frustrated by it.
Frankly, the personalization of these attacks is disgusting. It is one thing to take an elected official to task with a rhetorical flourish and tough language. Elected officials put themselves out there of their own accord, are paid to "take it," and have to expect this. It is part of democracy, and part of their responsibility to the electorate. They are "public" people, which even has particular meaning in the eyes of the law, and which opens them to more colorful criticism than private citizens have to suffer. It goes with the job.
It is another thing altogether to permit differences of opinion and the associated hostility of certain Newsviners to spill over into personal attacks on other Newsviners. I even admit to being provoked by these attacks, and to being effectively drawn into it up to a point, all of which is why I am inclined to bring my own Newsvine participation to a close.
I am all for freedom of expression, and spirited debate of the issues. Very. It is one of the things that makes America great. But I really wish that we could have this sort of debate without attacking one another personally. For my part, I am disgusted by it, and seriously considering withdrawing from Newsvine altogether if people have to be subjected to this merely for expressing their opinions. Certainly, there are higher standards of "journalistic" decorum and public debate than what has been posted in some cases, and more acceptable alternatives if this is the best that Newsvine can muster. It's not that I have a thin skin.....it's just that I think that Newsvine, and its members, can and should do better. Newsvine needs to be declared a "demilitarized" zone, free of personal attacks.