The downfall of a blogger

Don Surber’s firing (or forced resignation, or whatever it was) is a shame. Not that it wasn’t deserved. The Daily Mail was doing the right thing by distancing itself from Surber’s caustic commentary that culminated in him referring to Michael Brown as an “animal” who “deserved to be put down” on his personal blog.

I say it’s a shame because Surber used to be a decent human being. I knew him years ago when I worked for The Charleston Gazette. We were competing editorial writers, and I rarely agreed with what he wrote, but he had a sense of humor and we got along pretty well, in a distant sort of way.

Then he started blogging. It pretty much went downhill from there. He earned the attention of some popular national right-wing bloggers, and, I think, began writing more for them than for his West Virginia audience. His point of view became more and more radical, and he was rewarded with the currency of the blogging realm: hits and visitors. I commented occasionally on his blog, at least until he banned me.

At some point, The Daily Mail shut down his official blog. The line he gave was that he was too busy for it. But I noticed that he had time to put as many items up on Facebook as he had been on the blog. I wondered (and still do) if his editors had become wary of his radicalization. The Daily Mail was always a conservative counterweight to the Gazette’s liberal editorial page, but it was far more moderate than Surber had become.

I hope this is a wake-up call for Surber. I don’t know if he actually believed half the crap he wrote on his blog, at least in the beginning, but I know he used to be a better person. Maybe losing his job will make realize he had already lost his journalistic soul.

One Response to The downfall of a blogger

  1. Sandi Saunders says:

    I think you hope is a pipe dream, he is now a man “silenced” by the powers that be for speaking “the truth” and no other scenario will be considered.

    As I sat in my living room crying tears of joy and relief I did not even know were building on election night in 2008, I had the presence of mind to know that a large, vocal and threatening chunk of America was going to have a hard time dealing with the new reality. Being a daughter of the South I am well aware of our history and our current uneasy detente with race relations and inequality. Even so, I was not prepared for the level of outright insanity that gripped so many people, some very prominent and successful people. They are still managing to shock me and make me ashamed of the things they say.

    I know we will keep progress alive and I know the true dinosaurs will die out but few will change before they do, but it still hurts to see Americans who are just as violently entrenched as those they condemn. Surber is but one sad example.

    I appreciate that the paper realized there have to be boundaries or we all lose.

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