Read paragraph, get offended, leave comment.

I don't comment on every blog. Only the ones

I guarantee people will find something offensive in this column.

Culture is encouraging teen girls to dress and act like sluts.

People should be free to practice their religion without government interference.

Israel has the right to defend itself against foreign and domestic threats.

Don’t want to get beaten by police officers? Do what they say.

For those with differing points of view, I offer these provocative statements:

Every male is a potential rapist.

Religious freedom is just an excuse for intolerance, discrimination and bigotry.

Israel’s actions against Palestinians violate human rights.

Police officers are violent racists, and people must fight back.

I might say I support the positions mentioned above. I might say I don’t. But it doesn’t matter.

Because by now, quite a few of this column’s readers have already left to do one of two things: Leave a scathing comment  about how ignorant and hateful I am is OR immediately share this on social media to let others know how ignorant and hateful I am.

And it would be a shame.

Because they read just a few lines of this column and didn’t realize this piece was talking about how some folks completely miss the point and leave ill-informed comments because they read only the headline or a few lines of text.

It happens every day. In every newspaper. On every blog and news site.

A 2014 study from the American Press Institute revealed roughly 6 in 10 people acknowledge that they have done nothing more than read news headlines in the past week. These are the folks who actually admit doing it; the actual number is likely to be much higher since few people would be willing to confess they get information by simply gazing upon bold print.

The stats aren’t much better for people who may be reading this article online. Studies have shown that an overwhelming of online readers skim, not read, content. Less than 25 percent of Web readers will scroll beyond the first screen to see the rest of this article. The majority of folks bounced out of the site after seeing the graphic or reading just a few lines of the text.

Based on these studies, it would be safe to say:

Roughly 75 percent of this column’s readers caught just the headline and maybe a few lines of text.

Half of this group is really ticked off right now because I’m an intolerant conservative, and the other half is fuming because I’m a flaming liberal.

The remaining group that actually read is laughing at that group and, I hope, finds me to be a rather insightful human being. Feel free to smugly smile because you have picked up some very valuable knowledge that makes you smarter than at least 60 percent of your fellow Internet users.

Now let’s go see what the angry folks posted, tweeted or commented.

And let’s not tell them their negligence made them look like suckers — AGAIN.


This column originally appeared on Roadkill Goldfish and the Dallas Morning News.

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