Just in case you thought those anonymous reader comments on newspaper websites were on the level, the battle over Harbor Garage shows how website comments are being used by both sides hoping to sway public (and political) opinion.
Bruce Mohl of Commonwealth Magazine highlights a recent email sent by a Harbor Towers consultant to residents fighting the media war against Don Chiofaro’s proposal for high-rise towers at the Harbor Garage site.
“The reader comments at the end of online newspaper stories are apparently becoming a battle ground in the fight over a proposed high-rise tower along the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway. Tom Palmer, a former Boston Globe development reporter who now does public affairs consulting for Harbor Towers residents opposed to the skyscraper, sent an email to his clients Saturday in which he praised the city for blocking the building with new height restrictions along the Greenway but bemoaned his former employer’s coverage of the issue.”
After a recent call with Casey Ross, a Boston Globe reporter, Palmer’s email prepares Harbor Tower residents for an upcoming article and how to fight back by writing anonymous comments on the Globe’s website.
“So, we will read the profile (and other future stories, no doubt), and we should comment. “Commenting” — that is, writing in comments at the end of the electronic (web) versions of articles in the media — as many of you know has become an important and even necessary way to influence opinion. … What you do is choose some clever little moniker for yourself (most people make them non-self identifying), and then comment under that name. It’s all free. (Which is another reason the mainstream media are collapsing, but that’s another matter.)”
Of course, the Chiofaro Company encourages its supporters to write comments too. Their Facebook page links to the newspaper articles so fans can comment and its website encourages similar participation.
(P.S. – Nothing against Harbor Towers residents, Tom Palmer nor their position on the issue. I understand they are just reacting to the same anonymous posts made by the developer’s side.)
More on the Harbor Garage Redevelopment