You can learn more from the comments than news items themselves. Journalism should be impartial; a balanced account of the issues without emotive vocabulary. The BBC have posted the headline ‘Should homosexuals face execution?’
The beeb say they wanted to “reflect the stark reality” of a Ugandan bill being debated in their parliament which would see some homosexual offences punishable by death. Comments left the reader in no doubt that homophobia is alive and well and living in the UK. The decision to print this headline was considered permissible. Substitute homosexual for a medical condition, an ethnic minority or a religion, and it would not be. The same applies for the comments. If the context was another section of society supposedly protected by equality and diversity legislation, they would have been moderated out..
Bias and prejudice are expected in some areas of the media but you would hope for impartiality with the BBC and the Guardian (where I picked this up). Thankfully most comments were rational and reflected a more tolerant society. The contrast between the news report and reader’s opinions offers the best combination of left and right thinking creating a perfect journalistic balance.
The BBC have (as I write!) changed the headline to Should Uganda debate gay execution? The original screenshot can still be seen on the Guardian link. A response to the power of public journalism?