The fault of rampant anecdotalism this time belonged to ABC's A Closer Look feature. Ron Claiborne (subscription required) offered yet another trend piece about how the Internet is taking us to hell in a handbasket. Remember NBC's Lisa Daniels on how wikipedia.org cannot be trusted? Or ABC's Dan Harris (subscription required) on how e-mail messages can become addictive? Or CBS' Daniel Sieberg on how teenagers online can turn into cyberbullies?
Well, Claiborne's contribution was to decry online shaming: a permanent digital record can turn a harmless post of anonymous criticism about some social faux pas--aggressive driving, promiscuous dating, sexual humiliation--into a forever-ruined reputation, permanently Googleable. Claiborne's complaint did seem overblown: the vanity license plate of the "alleged bad driver" from North Carolina was IDRVFAST.
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