About the double-edged sword that it the internet: it gives people a voice, but some voices are best never heard. All a person has to do is find a computer with web access and their unedited thoughts can be on display for the entire world to see. Think of it as digital graffiti. But since it's a newer medium, some people struggle how to react to it. Should all views that hit the world wide web be taken seriously? Of course not.
But apparently one "journalist" from Pittsburgh thinks the world wide web is a legitimate source for a news story.
Check out this article by Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Trash-talking NFL fans waste no time reveling in Roethlisberger's misfortune.
This has to be one of the worst newspaper articles I've ever written. This guy went to the internet, looked up the worst stuff people wrote about Ben's accident and published it in the paper. I'll admit, I'm ticked off about it. So much so, that I wrote an article to the reporter. Here's what I said:
Mr Fittipaldo, My name is Steve Carr, and I am I lifelong resident of Cincinnati, Ohio. I rarely write letters to journalists from my hometown paper, so you can understand that your recent Post Gazette article, "Trash-talking NFL fans waste no time reveling in Roethlisberger's misfortune" must have struck a nerve with me if I decided to write to you, a journalist in Pittsburgh.
I am a Bengals fan, which means that I loath the Pittsburgh Steelers. Sure I respect all the franchise's accomplishments, including their most recent Super Bowl victory, but they are a division rival. I would prefer that they lose every game. Brutal, but honest.
That being said, your article about Bengals fans rejoicing in Ben Roethlisberger's accident was way out of line. Using the internet as a resource for how Bengals fans feel about Roethlisberger's injury is irresponsible. The internet allows anyone with a computer the opportunity to post unfiltered thoughts for the entire world to see. Doing a Google search for the worst comments you could find and putting them in print is nothing but lazy journalism. There's a never-ending supply of racist, insensitive fodder on the internet, but it doesn't make it into most newspapers because journalists know better.
Your article was in no way helpful, but most likely supplied legitimacy to the people who wrote this garbage. These bloggers do not reflect the majority opinion of the people of Cincinnati. Roethlisberger was a star at local Miami University. Despite his current NFL team affiliation, many Bengals fans struggle to root against him because of his local history. There are many people who've wished him the best through this rough time, and are praying for his recovery. And I'm sure some of these well-wishes were posted on the internet. But no mention of that was found in your article. I wonder why . . .
Perhaps it's because you were using this internet trash talk as way to fuel the fire of Cincinnati hatred. That's the only motivation I can find in this article: to make Bengals fans look insensitive to this tragedy and give Steelers fans cause for additional ill will. If that is the case, then you should be ashamed for using Ben's accident as an excuse to increase civic pride.
Nowhere in this piece was it stated that this was an editorial. That's the only excuse I could see for this drivel. I'm disappointed, to say the least.
Sincerely, Steve Carr Cincinnati, Ohio
In case you're so moved, his email is firstname.lastname@example.org