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Democracy: 1 Tribune: 0

John Powers 31 December 2007 4 Comments

The Tribune published a not very well thought out Op-Ed by Tracey Barnett, pumping “Republic 2.0″, a not very well thought out book by University of Chicago law professor Cass Sunstein.

Sunstein’s claim is that people filter information they want to read using technical tools on the internet, blocking out opposing opinion.

Of course this isn’t even close to a novel thought (or true for that matter, read a comments section sometime and tell me you can’t find differences of opinion), but the Trib did something to make it all the more interesting.

Here are the comments on the Op-Ed as of 11:30 last night. (Yes, I wrote one of them)

Here are the comments on the Op-Ed as of 8:30 this morning.

Note that the 4 comments disagreeing with the Op-Ed have been removed, and 2 new ones supporting the Op-Ed have been added.

I suppose one way to prove Sunstein’s thesis is to remove all dissenting views from the comments box, but given that Google collects a snapshot of the web many times a day, it is getting more difficult to rewrite history.


  • Jim Bowman said:

    I have put this to Ben Estes, editor of Tribune.com, asking him what’s up. Eagerly await his (interactive) response.

  • Jim Bowman said:

    Prompt reply from Estes:

    No comments have been removed, as far as I can tell. It’s probably because there are 2 different versions of that story, with 2 different slugs:



  • Jim Bowman said:

    Indeed, they check out: all six comments are there, on the two URL slugs.

  • John Powers said:

    Fair enough, though the threads could certainly be combined with a not very difficult bit of technology.

    Great work Jim..thus the real-time collaborative nature of Internet 2.0!


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