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BOOK CORNER: Veteran journalist tackles internet trolls in new book

“I used to think blacks were just stupid. Now I’m convinced that they’re mentally unfit. Everytime they don’t get their way, it’s some great white plot against them. How about they just grow up!!!”

– Posted by fortherecord111222,

The above comment is found inside the book “Rants and Retorts: How Bigots Got a Monopoly on Commenting about News Online” by veteran journalist Anita Samuels. Her book chronicles the racist comments that are prevalent in the comment sections of news websites. The book also describes how online comments are being addressed by news organizations and offers solutions to the problem.

Inspiration for “Rants & Retorts” began in 2008 when the author was shocked by comments that she saw underneath an online news article.

“I felt as if I was in a white supremacist platform,” the author said.

Anita Samuels

Samuels researched online comments from news sites such as the New York Daily News and the New York Times from 2008 until 2015. The findings reflected in her book are not peculiar to the overwhelming statements that consume comment sections of news articles and social media timelines daily, reminding viewers how divided this nation remains.

“Comments aren’t going away,” Samuels said. “You have to decide for yourself if you’re going to engage with the trolls. Pick your battles wisely and think about how you engage online and make sure you’re not adding to the negativity.”

The author lives in Brooklyn, and is a contributing writer to New York Daily News and For more information about Samuels, please visit her online at

“Rants & Retorts: How Bigots Got a Monopoly on Commenting about News Online” is available for $19.99 (soft-cover) or $9.99 (ebook) on,,, and local bookstores.