No comment at The Daily Mail

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The Daily Mail has this terse and unpunctuated notice below one of its stories today:

Sorry we are unable to accept comments for legal reasons.

Why this departure from the open comments policy that is the right of every online reader of anything in the 21st century?

The story on which they could not accept comments was this one, about Rebecca Elder, a 39-year-old woman in Adelaide, Australia, accused of aggravated serious criminal trespass and of rape. She allegedly broke into a man's house and performed fellatio on him without his consent.

Other stories of assaults in the same issue had open comments areas. For example, in the tragic case of an immaculate black-clad Kim Kardashian having a bag of flour hurled at her as she arrived on the red carpet for a perfume launch event, comments are wide open for any observation people might want to make, without regard for any desire on Miss Kardashian's part for privacy, decorum, and respect. One thoughtful commenter said:

ahhhhhh hahaha hahaha ha ha :o) this has just made my friday please put this story back up on monday morning so i can chuckle hard again, best thing to ever happen to one of that tribe !!!

So what law permitted that but forbade commenting on Rebecca Elder? It was not that the identity of the male victim might be revealed; the Mail says that Elder "broke into a house while its male occupant — who cannot be named — was lawfully on the premises." So his identity is not known.

My guess is that the Mail closed comments because of the nature of the rather unusual story.

More precisely, they did not want to be swamped by about ten thousand comments per hour from young males saying something like

ahhhhhh hahaha hahaha ha ha :o) you can break into my house any time you like baby I wont blow the whistle on you if you blow me !!!

The Daily Mail clearly has insufficient respect for the First Amendment, which as we all know permits everyone online to say anything anywhere they please. The cowardly editors should be ashamed of themselves.

[Sorry we are unable to accept comments for legal reasons.]

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