Newspapers would retaliate against "bothersome" commenters with slanted news stories if they could. Some commenters point out specific bias and prove it, for instance linking a photo to a politically correct rally showing far less people than the newspaper reported, perhaps forcing a correction. This kind of thing does make them rail against "random comments. "Yeah, who is that guy so I can put him on my list?"
In my town the newspaper stopped anonymous comments three months before the 2000 election - "too much information" was being commented on regarding their endorsed candidates. The excuse was too much vitriol but really, there wasn't that much.
They changed to registered full name comments only after the election and only a very few people showed up. After a few years of a few boring comments on few stories by few people, they went back to anonymous names but still with registration. The editors do not have access to the registration info, just the web administrators and newspaper advocate. The paper is self moderating, comments can be reported by other commenters for violation of guidelines and are then released or allowed.
With anonymous comments the comment section of the newspaper is a rip-roaring discussion that generates a lot of "hits" for the online paper. Full name disclosure will end that.
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