Everyone has a breaking point – just ask the ever-loyal Cleveland Browns fans – who, by the way, I feel could use a tad bit more positive feedback for their coming 2014-2015 season. But in regards to the community of citizen-commentators who post to our newspaper, I reached my breaking point. This week I logged on and viewed the “most comments’ link supplied on their opinion home page.
I should have cleaned out the refrigerator.
The editorial board ran a piece on the high infant mortality rates in Ohio – and it did not make the ‘most comments’ link. (107 comments)
The Editorial board ran a piece on toxic dumping in Lake Erie – and it did not make the ‘most comments’ link. (12 comments)
They ran a piece on the N. Korea’s shocking human rights abuses – and it did not make the ‘most comments’ link. (8 comments)
They ran another editorial about the new police chief in Cleveland and the need to fix systemic failures present in the department – and it did not make the ‘most comments’ link. (15 comments)
What did make the ‘most comments’ link? Out of the top eight editorials/articles listed, five were Sports Page articles and one concerned the legalization of marijuana. The remaining two centered on social media’s reach and politics. (Job Bank emails that went viral and Kevin O’Brien’s opinion piece on military spending).
People in Northeast Ohio appear to be more concerned with sports and drug legalization than they do with what is actually happening around them. We need a clean Lake Erie. We need to know the children who are allowed to be born are taken care of. We need to be aware of changes affecting our personal safety. We need to know about people in the world who do not enjoy a fraction of the liberty we in America casually dismiss.
1900+ comments about an NFL quarterback and only 107 comments about the high infant mortality rates. Do these statistics really illustrate what readers in NEOhio think is important? Is this indicative of citizen-commentators in other parts of the country?
No amount of legislation can fix problems without citizen’s input. Regular people need get involved. Share your opinions on stories other than those that center on sports news. Some will disagree with you, others will agree with you…but you cannot fix something unless you realize who and what is involved, solutions being proposed, and where to go for more information.
We have the freedom and the liberties in this country to gather information, to be part of the solution. It is our responsibility to exercise those liberties.