The Washington Post Denies Right To Debate

The Washington Post has recently caused an upset, banning their journalists from debating with readers VIA Twiter. The ban happened after several reporters chose to engage readers in debate over the controversy of the recent string of bullicides.

The six teenagers that committed suicide sparked the idea of “Spirit Day”, where supporters of the LGBT community wear purple in protest against hatemongering. You can read more here:

However, the article posted on the Washington Post,  supposedly promoting anti hate, equated homosexuality to a mental illness. Needless to say, that idea did not settle with many readers, and thus came the twitter debates.

The Post has banned its reporters, saying “it is absolutely vital to remember that the purpose of these Post-branded accounts is to use them as a platform to promote news


No branded Post accounts should be used to answer critics and speak on behalf of the Post“.

The Post defended its position, saying:

Perhaps it would be useful to think of the issue this way: when we write a story, our readers are free to respond and we provide them a venue to do so.

We sometimes engage them in a private verbal conversation, but once we enter a debate personally through social media, this would be equivalent to allowing a reader to write a letter to the editor – and then publishing a rebuttal by the reporter. It’s something we don’t do.”

I don’t agree with their conclusions, as I belive journalism (especially with the benefits of the internet) should include active communication between reporter and readers. The ban to do so, is unnececary censorship, and an encroachment on the freedoms of readers and writers everywhere.

Today is Oct 20; Spirit Day

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2 Responses to The Washington Post Denies Right To Debate

  1. sheyy says:

    I think they banned this option not because of censorship but because it is a delicate subject. Perhaps, a journalist can make a wrongly response and the reader can take offense, file a complaint, or do something harmful. It seems like the Washington Post did not want to be responsible for any incident that occurred due to the comments.

  2. caitlinarmstrong says:

    Hmm… yeah I am guessing it is probably not the best idea for reporters to debate with readers. This could cause up all sorts of controversy. I agree with Sheyy that they probably banned this idea because it was a delicate subject but if you upset readers then they probably won’t read your publication anymore and will bash your magazine or whatever it is you write for. I think it is great for readers to be able to express their opinions but I don’t necessarily think it is key for reporters to debate with or argue with their readers.

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