Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The internet abhors a vacuum: Chris Brown's arrest

With Chris Brown arrested, and, you'd hope, what may or may not have happened between him and Rihanna disappearing under a cloak of sub judice (you can dream, can't you?) the ever-hungry internet news services need to fill their pixel-boxes somehow. But what to do?

Without any actual news to report, MTV News turns to its readers, to find out what they're thinking. Given this is to fill a gap caused by nobody knowing what's happened, you might wonder if this exercise is a little empty. Even some MTV News readers have spotted the flaw:

"Just waiting until the whole story comes out before I can comment on something that did or didn't happen," said shannon504.

A sensible attitude. Let's wait and see exactly what's happened before rushing to judgement, right, MTV?

Oh... but what's that? You've got a story to file.
While some have chosen to reserve their opinions, many have started to take sides as details develop.

Thank god for that, eh?
"I think Chris Brown has some inner demons that he needs to deal with. When you're that young and have all that fame, you tend to forget that you are not above the law, and he now faces a lot of sponsors that will drop him," said Wing70.

Yeah. Losing that Wrigleys' chewing gum gig - that would be an almost Old Testament style punishment.

But not every MTV reader is worried that what's really at stake here is the ability to endorse products and/or events. Because, clearly, if someone hit somebody else - well, that would be the fault of the somebody else, right?
"I don't think Chris would just a hit a girl like that. She had to do something or say something out the way for him to really hurt her," said Nika2hot.

Yes, that's right. Why haven't the police rounded up Rihanna - clearly, the unacceptable provocation of saying something is a crime which must be dealt with.
"If people can forgive Britney for going all crazy, then why can't they do it for him, said Breebooluzya, "No matter if he did it or not, I'm still a fan of Chris Brown!"

Yes, because attacking your partner is pretty much on a par with having a mental breakdown. In, erm, some way.

In yesterday's Guardian, Martin Bright, ex-political editor of the New Statesmen, warned news organisations that not taking care over the quality and tenor of the contributions in your comments section risks poisoning your online brand. I'm not quite sure what he'd make of a company digging into its comments box, and actually republishing the most unpleasant as a news story.


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