Why do newspaper columnists such as Jackie Ashley and Polly Toynbee write political opinion pieces, and then fail to respond to the arguments put forward by readers in their blog comments? Do they feel it's beneath their dignity to respond? Do they not take the criticisms and points of rebuttal seriously? Can't they be bothered? Do they think they've not been paid enough to spend some extra time debating the points that are raised?
It strikes me as another example of how the mainstream media still just doesn't get it regarding the digital age. They're stuck in the old formula whereby a journalist would write an opinion piece (and that's all it is - an opinion) which was printed in the paper - and then a letters editor might select one or two responses for publication in the next-but-one day's edition - and that's it.
Wise up you people. Your opinions are worth little more than the well-informed people who track public events, have memories, and principles, and can spot a duff argument when they see one. In fact you don't seem to me very much more informed than the readership you are writing for - so why should you be getting paid at all?
Perhaps Alan Rushbridger should be answering that question. But then rather like the present government (and the banks), he is earning such a big salary whilst making such a huge loss for his employers, maybe he is not interested.
UPDATE 21 May 2009
Daily Mail & General Trust fell into the red as it reported a pre-tax loss of £239m for the six months to 29 March, with an 85% fall in operating profit at its regional arm and a 59% fall across its national newspaper division.