Thursday, January 03, 2013

Talk of the Town

Talk of the town: The 2012 stories that got the most online comments
By Jake Frankel | Mountain Xpress | 12/30/2012

Tim Peck’s letter to the editor advocating free-market capitalism garnered more responses than any other post on the Xpress website over the past year. The local blogger and former Asheville City Council candidate also posted far more comments on the site than any other registered user.

In keeping with Mountain Xpress’ long-standing goal of promoting community dialogue, our website proved to be fertile ground for a wide variety of lively discussions over the past year. Here's a look at the posts that generated the most online comments (note: Xpress' tracking system doesn't include comments made via Facebook).

A letter to the editor by Tim Peck titled "People and Profits Are In Harmony" drew more responses than any other post. In the piece, the local blogger and former Asheville City Council candidate argued that, "In commercial transactions, two parties profit: the seller and the buyer.

"The buyer acquires a product and the seller gains financially," he continued. "This peaceable, voluntary transaction of value for value to mutual benefit is an exercise of the rights of individuals to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness. It is the proper and moral exercise of economic and political freedom."

Most commenters disagreed, however, saying that sometimes, corporations’ pursuit of profit can lead to negative economic and environmental consequences for consumers.

"Your letter assumes a true free market, where transparency allows the consumer to know how workers are treated, how products are made, how pricing structures and other legal policies are created and so on," wrote commenter "sonipitts" (Xpress policy allows aliases and anonymous online comments).

"However, in our current world we don't have a free market," sonipitts continued. "We have a market dominated by a few large corporations in each field operating with the wealth of small nations and using that wealth to silence whistle-blowers who would expose dangerous or unethical practices; who use their money and subsequent influence to get laws passed specifically aimed at preventing information about such practices from being exposed (or to simply make them legal); who use that same influence to make competition impossible beyond a few small 'industry leaders' and to avoid any but the most trivial consequences for breaking the law."

The top posters of 2012 (User name/ Number of comments posted):

timothypeck 1,825
Ken Hanke 1,446
bsummers 535
Dionysis 437
Xanadon't 364
Jeremy Dylan 335
bill smith 240
Me 233
Orbit DVD 198
D. Dial 175
mat catastrophe 141
Edwin Arnaudin 130


Pete Kaliner Radio Show
1/2/2013, Hour 2
Jake Frankel from Mountain Xpress joins us to talk the big stories of 2012 and the upcoming issues for 2013. (Talk of the town @ 00:08:00)