Port: Sadly, public figures receiving crude messages isn’t exactly news


MINOT, N.D. — This week our Robin Huebner published a story about the crude messages candidates in North Dakota’s U.S. House race have received.

The genesis of the story was a video candidate Cara Mund — ostensibly an independent but effectively the de facto Democratic-NPL candidate in the race — posted rounding up some of the ugliness her campaign has inspired from the hoi polloi.

It breaks my heart that Mund has received those messages. It’s also heartbreaking that Congressman Kelly Armstrong, the Republican incumbent in the race, has reported receiving insults and death threats.

This brings me to my point: These threats and insults aren’t exactly news, and I worry that by focusing on them, by allowing the politicians to direct our focus to them, we’re letting our debates be guided by online trolls and not the issues.

I’m sympathetic to those receiving abuse, because I’m a compassionate human being, first and foremost, and because I receive so much of it myself.

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