The trial brought on by a suits against the State of Texas by the family of 14-year old Mark Harding ended in a mistrial. Mark was the College Station ISD student who was skateboarding at 1 a.m. near 6 and William Fitch when he was hit and killed by a DPS trooper. KBTX elected to turn OFF the comments feature on the web story because - frankly - they became so vile and insensitive, regardless of the use of acceptable language, the posts were horrible. We were called out for doing that, one viewer writing me personally, after accusing KBTX - again - of being a "Liberal Media" who reports only what we want people to see.
My response to that is: That is absurd.
This viewer goes on:
"You may be able to block me on your website from commenting, but you can't stop me on Facebook where this will go off like a bomb. I hope you are ready for the repercussions of doing a half *** story. I will do my best to make sure my veterans group and everyone I know stops watching KBTX as long as you allow trashy stories to be posted with only have the facts being posted."
After responding, we came to common ground. Clay Falls coverage of the event was right on target. Only the facts. This was an emotionally charged case in which there are no winners. Many took offense to troopers showing up in mass to support one of their own while friends of the Harding family did the same. And back and forth it went - all in the eyes of those who were writing.
Oddly, Facebook was much more civil. Why? Because there is accountability. You are identified. The KBTX comments section can often be anonymous.
I'm reminded of some words I received in an e-mail following one of these segments a few months back:
"There is perhaps no greater empowerment these days than a keyboard - at no time are people so brave as when they sit down to write a comment anonymously. A society of this type of unaccountability makes for very brave cowards."
When comments take such an insensitive turn, we will always turn them off.
Now to lighten the mood a bid. There is perhaps no commercial other than Jimmy Copeland "Come See Paw-paw" that is more memorable than the crew at John's Transmissions. This commercial I voiced back in the mid-early 90's ran so long, I was afraid this would be my legacy. Even though we may have used it once, here it is again - John Selig and the crew of John's Transmissions.
Always nice to re-visit those golden days of yesteryear. Your opinion always matters, be in touch anytime - we care about what you thank as a member of the family of KBTX News 3.