It’s unrealistic to ask someone to moderate comments from potentially millions of users. I don’t blame him for turning them off at all! Comment moderation is a tough business. It’s thankless, and very time consuming.
I do have a problem when editors link to pieces on their sites and go “don’t read the comments!” That’s your site! I’m not saying you can 100% control what your community does and doesn’t do, but it seems weird to openly admit you’re unable to do anything about it. If you have a community, if you have comments, it’s your responsibility to make sure they’re a safe place.
Lord knows it’s easy to screw up. We’ve done it plenty of times.