I’m disappointed and disheartened by the direction the Chronicle is taking. In the past I found it to be a valuable resource for local information and a forum for community dialogue. With the recent removal of the comment sections, The Chronicle has removed an important community resource.
Although the public comments were frequently hostile and reactionary posts from trolls, this forum also allowed for some important community dialogue from across the political spectrum. At its best, I found the comments forum to be extremely educational about issues with which I wasn’t terribly familiar and to which I was unlikely to be exposed in the normal course of my daily life.
These days, it’s all too easy for us to hide in our protected bubbles, avoiding information or opinions that conflict with our own. I find that tendency in myself and have to make active efforts to hear viewpoints that differ from my own. The comments used to be one of my most important resources in that endeavor.
Sometimes I would be exposed to well-informed, articulate people I wouldn’t normally encounter except in the comments section. I would also directly witness the voices of racism, misogyny, homophobia, willful ignorance, insincere religiosity and gratuitous hostility. And I ultimately benefited from all of it. I was able to witness the whole gamut of viewpoints and valued it all because it was direct evidence of who we really are here in Lewis County, for better and for worse.
As someone who leans left in my political views, I also found the comment section to be an extremely important counterbalance to the distinct — and growing — rightward tilt of The Chronicle. Since the local Democratic party went AWOL long ago, The Chronicle’s comment section is one of the few forums in which a whole range of political views, including those from the left, can enter into our regional political dialogue. Without the comments section, no one would even know that there are liberals and progressives living in Lewis County.
I encourage owner Chad Taylor and The Chronicle’s editors to restore online comments and return this resource to its readers.