Time to get back to news

Capitol Hill Blue has gone through a lot of changes over the past 15 years — some good, some bad.

I’ve experimented with many things. Some have worked, some haven’t.

But one thing that has not changed is my commitment to keep CHB non-partisan and free from the partisan rancor that, in my opinion, ruins too many web sites.

Sadly, that commitment is not shared by some who choose to use both our comments section and our reader blogs to promote a one-sided view of the important issues that our nation faces.

Some use the blogs to promote their own web sites or to sneak in ads for things that have nothing to do politics and government.

I find myself spending more time than I need to remove comments or blogs that get past our spam filters. I too often find the comments dominated by a handful of readers who turn the debate into nasty, personal exchanges.

I’ve received a high number of email from readers who say they are staying away from Capitol Hill Blue because of the rancor of the comments sections or the partisanship of blogs. I’ve received complaints from our advertisers about the content of some of the blogs and comments.

Unlike our ReaderRant forum, the comments section of the news side of this site is not moderated. In too many cases, the comments are partisan, bullying and uninterested in honest debate. In too many cases, both comments and blogs are riddled with typos or rambling, run-on sentences that do not belong on a professionally-produced web site dedicated to a non-partisan presentation of news.

So I’m forced to make some changes.

Reader Blogs are history. I don’t have the time to deal with the spam, the off-topic blogs or the overt partisanship. I’m forced to remove a half-dozen blogs a day because they either overtly promote another web site, contain ads or have nothing to do with the purpose of this web site.

In recent weeks, some blog entries have been cited on other web sites as “proof” that Capitol Hill Blue is (pick one) “right wing” or “left wing” or promoting a partisan point of view. When blog entries are confused with legitimate news or come to represent the point-of-view of a web site, it is time to make a change.

Some of our reader bloggers have provided excellent commentary and insight. Too many others, unfortunately, have not. Those who tried to make the blogs worthwhile are forced to pay the penalty for those who abused the privilege.

Reader comments will continue, for the time being, but I’m going to be watching them more closely and deleting those who violate our site’s rules on personal attacks, racism or decorum.

If those who comment on news stories and columns can’t learn to do so without attacks, obscenities and over partisan propaganda, I will discontinue the comments directly to stories and limit comments to the moderated ReaderRant forum.

The future of the comments lies with out readers.

As Walter Cronkite used to end his newscasts: “That’s the way it is.”