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Internet websites are grappling with an issue as old as the freedom of speech. It's all about online comments — when they're offensive, off the point or so ignorant it distorts the value of carefully researched science.  Should they be allowed anyway, or censored? Should websites deny anonymity, or should they ban online comments altogether?  Also, the Senate advances a short-term spending bill to uncertain fate, and after thousands of hours with hundreds of movie stars, a celebrity interviewer comes clean: he has no idea what they're really like.

Banner image: Stuart Pilbrow

Making News Senate Advances Short-Term Spending Bill to Uncertain Fate 7 MIN, 50 SEC

The US Senate today voted to end debate on the Continuing Resolution to keep the government funded and send the measure back to the House. It was 79 to 19, with just half the Republicans voting "no" in hopes of stopping Obamacare. They've had several votes since then. Manu Raju is senior congressional reporter for Politico.

Manu Raju, Politico (@mkraju)

Main Topic Online Comments: Freedom of Speech or the Bane of the Internet? 34 MIN, 15 SEC

Popular Science wants online comments to encourage learned debate but finds that so many are so wrong they damage the credibility of important research. So they've decided to ban reader comments online. The Huffington Post gets nine million comments a month, but 75% are so vile, mean or obscene they never get posted. We hear why some websites won't allow anonymity any more, while others are banning online comment completely. Does free speech have to be limited to expertise or good manners? Are 100 stupid, cruel or disruptive comments worth one that makes for good reading?

Jacob Ward, Popular Science (@_jacobward_)
Arianna Huffington, Huffington Post
James Fallows, Atlantic (@JamesFallows)
Judith Donath, Harvard University (@judithd)
Mathew Ingram, GigaOM (@mathewi)

Breaking The News

James Fallows

Today's Talking Point Point: Peering into the Eyes of a Celebrity and Learning… Nothing 9 MIN, 1 SEC

Benjamin Svetkey spent 20 years as a writer and celebrity interviewer for Entertainment Weekly. He spent thousands of hours talking with hundreds of movie stars, more time with Tom Cruise, he says, than with some of his own blood relatives. He got three hours to smoke stinky cigars with Jack Nicholson in the star's Picasso-filled mansion on LA's Mulholland Drive. So what are these world-class celebrities really like? The headline in Los Angeles Magazine says it all: "I Don't Know Jack."

Ben Svetkey, journalist and author (@VintageAnchor)

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