Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Free Speech Isn't Always Free

There's a piece in the local daily today about Charlottesville's C-Ville Weekly's apology for running a racist missive in its "Rants" segment, one that has not been seriously edited in the past and which allowed people to anonymously get stuff off their chests.

That's free speech in the strict definition. It is not responsible, however, and with "free" comes "responsibility," even if you're a newspaper. The "rant," according to the report, "used profanities and accused black residents of asking for free food at restaurants."

I have insisted for years that anonymous speech is not free speech. It is simply an invitation for people to become their worst selves, to state the outrageous and the profane and to publicly air the worst side of themselves. I don't allow that on this blog and didn't allow it in any publication I was ever in charge of.

Not all comments with this blog are signed, but all comments that negatively reflect on a person (other than me) and are not signed, do not run. I consider it cowardice to comment without responsibility and if you don't like your name, I don't either, so keep your thoughts to yourself and let them fester inside.

This is not a free speech issue. Speech is not free. It is expensive and worthwhile when paid for.

(Graphic: bosniak.org)

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