Wednesday, August 07, 2013
HATE SPEECH 101: Death Threat Remains on St. Augustine Record Website, Now More Than Two Weeks After it Was Posted -- Record Must Identify Poster
You would think that journalists would never publish anonymous online death threats against government officials, or anonymous racist, sexist and homophobic rants, e.g. “Barney (The Fruit) Frank.” Yet the Record insists on giving anonymous haters bandwidth, commenting after every article. The Record does not enforce its own civility rules. Why?
On July 24th the Record published an anonymous comment calling for City Commissioners and staff to be “taken out and shot in the plaza” (de la Constitucion, a/k/a Slave Market Square) for supporting the Mumford & Sons concert, complaining about the alleged rejection of family faith-centered entertainment in local venues and demanding Mumford's concert be canceled. Perhaps this putatively religious poster supposes it's funny to suggest that City officials be “taken out and shot.” We're not laughing, and neither are City officials.
The Record is insouciant about this threatening language. Why? It should reveal the name of its poster.
Rose Kennedy's favorite Bible verse was from Matthew: “To whom much is given, much is expected.”
The Record is “a newspaper of general circulation,” with a second class mailing permit. As such, it has the right – under current Florida law – to be paid hundreds of thousands of dollars annually for legal advertising by government agencies. Some Florida legislators proposed to allow ads to be placed in internet publications, a move that was opposed by the newspaper industry. One of the reasons that Florida newspapers rarely investigate anything may be the large checks from government agencies. Make waves, and someone might take away your government advertising, newspaper publishers fear.
Over the past ten years, the St. Augustine Record has received millions of dollars for advertising from our local governments. It's our money. “Earn this,” as Tom Hanks' character said in “Saving Private Ryan.”
Clean Up St. Augustine
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