Toronto Star closes reader commenting. No loss; they were already deleting any comments about Best vs. Ranking lawsuit or Donald Best
As the traditional news media struggles to survive in a world where everyone and anyone can publish a story or broadcast breaking news live from anywhere with just a mobile phone, newspaper publishers are being forced to make some tough choices.
Today the Toronto Star announced the immediate end of reader commenting. Visitor stats will surely suffer as I found myself returning five or ten times to various stories to watch the reader discussion unfold. Now I’ll read the story once and move on. It must be the same for many others.
Killing the Donald Best story
It won’t really matter as far as my story goes, because the Toronto Star has been systematically deleting all mention of my name and court case in the comments for about a year.
Some of my friends have speculated as to why the Star has been censoring my story. Over the past year, several Star journalists expressed interest and even wild enthusiasm about my lawsuit and the solid evidence showing wrongdoing by lawyers and police, but (so I am told) there seems to be a roadblock at the editor level.
One of my friends speculates that this might have something to do with the fact that Paul Schabas of Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, one of the lawyers I am suing, acts for the Toronto Star in many legal cases right up to the Supreme Court of Canada level. If it was true that Mr. Schabas was advising The Star not to cover my story, that would be interesting as in the many news stories I’ve read Mr. Schabas is always demanding the right to publish and fighting for freedom of the press.
Perhaps Mr. Schabas feels differently about freedom of the press when he and his fellow lawyers are the subject of the story?
Or, perhaps not.
In any event, The Star closed reader commenting at the newspaper’s website. Will the Globe and Mail or National Post follow the Star’s lead? And, will it really matter if they do?
* Photo of Paul Schabas courtesy of the Toronto Star