AT&T, the Huffington Post, and collegiate rants round out reader call and response

Does anyone like AT&T? Can journalism survive the Huffington Post? What constitutes a racist rant? My readers have all the answers

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In other news: Several Cringesters responded to my diatribe supporting New York Times jefe Bill Keller in his war of words with Arianna Huffington ("The Huffington Post: The Hamburger Helper of Web journalism").

Reader D. L. writes in support of L'Arianna:

Keller is understandably bitter that the NYT's semi-exclusive franchise to distribute content to the world has been, more or less, destroyed. Huffpo is an arriviste. She is the newcomer to the club, Keller playing the role of snob who decries the lowering of standards that allowed her in. This routine is played over and over in history, though I'm a bit surprised Keller lowers himself to criticize Huffpo instead of showing he understands (and accepts) that the world he knew as a reporter has been rendered obsolete. Keller would do well to conserve his time, thought, and effort to figure out how the NYT will survive in a digital media.

Cringe fan T. H. takes the opposite view:

Keller is right, of course, but what does it matter? HuffPo feeds and thrives on the dumbed-down information consumption habits of an increasingly illiterate culture. The NYT is "serious" in age when almost no one else us. Lady GaGa, Charlie Sheen, American Idol, Sarah Palin. Look at them. Look at the headlines. Case closed.

My post about UCLA student Alexandra Wallace and that YouTube rant that came back to bite her ("UCLA student exercises freedom of speech -- and freedom to be an idiot") inspired the usual gamut of opposing views. Reader M. B. says I'm wrong to call her a racist:

Wallace should be able to say whatever she wants. Why is it so bad to offend people? I might not like what she said -- you might not like what she said -- but why can't she say whatever comes across her mind? Labeling her a racist is just too much. Why not just label her a dumb girl that said a dumb thing?…. What concerns me most is that speech codes that include so-called "offensive" language will one day include religious speech.

Correspondent J. G. says that, regardless of what you think of how she said it, Wallace was right to complain about people making cell calls from the school library:

... while I agree it was moronic to say what she said, she also has a point. Library!! One expects a certain level of noise within a library, and I think it would be fair to say that the person on the cell phone should have be using it outside of the "Quiet please!" areas, i.e. like outside so as not to disturb everyone else.

I think Cringester J. T. sums it all up nicely:

Would you wish to live in an America where you don't have the right to be a moron? It's tied at the hip with the right to be a genius.

Damn straight -- and I exercise at least one of those rights three times a week, sometimes more. Thanks to all my readers for putting up with it.

What offends you? What needs defending? Let your voice be heard below or email me: cringe@infoworld.com.

This article, "AT&T, the Huffington Post, and collegiate rants round out reader call and response," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Track the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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