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Journalistic Overreach

30 May 2013 at 11:46:28 AM

I was quite surprised to see that another local blog, one from Bosque County, Glen Rose Current,  had decided to discuss something I said on this blog but without attributing it to "Salon", which is what I post under here. My better half is involved in a project that I am not, aside from having (of course) an opinion about it. I thought the days were long gone when married couples were assumed to be working on the same projects, with the same ideas, 24 x7, joined at the hip and mind. Had I myself reached out to discuss, or been contacted by that blog, might have been a different story or I could have at least had the chance to say No. I do not regularly read that site; the reason I noticed is that my hub directed me to it.

But what I really want to talk about is the value of anonymous speech, which has a rich tradition in this country. Publius, anyone? This website was started with the idea that as long as the conversations remain civil and within a few boundaries, people can anonymously discuss an issue. That includes me. You will not find my name anywhere on this site. I post as salon. Does this mean that people may not know who I am? Yes, but for  about 4 years, I went down to government meetings, recorded them, and then posted excerpts on this site. I have no doubt that every person in those rooms saw me with the camera and, not being a shy person, I spoke with and know quite a few of them. So, it's not a matter of secrecy, it's a matter of internet privacy.

When I have written letters to the editor, I do it under my name and I am choosing to do that in that venue. I believe strongly also that if I were a member, say, of a PAC or some other political entity that was taking money to influence an election, that I should have that as part of the description under my name (as for example, Charlie Thomas's letters to the editor which didn't include the fact that he is treasurer of the Somervell County Hospital Authority PAC). As a citizen, I have the right of free speech to express my opinion about any subject and the newspaper has the right to say, WHEN I APPROACH THEM, that they will not print it if it does not include my real name.

That is simply not the case with the other blog. Despite the fact that I never contacted that blog to give permission to include me in an article, nor was contacted myself, the blog liberally quoted from this site and, when quoting, USED MY REAL NAME, rather than the name I post under here. I was astonished at this and requested that they please call me. The owner of that blog refused to call me on the phone with a baloney excuse that I am *emotional*  and said this, in part.

I do not, as a responsible journalist, agree to protect the identities of people who try to sway elections or petitions for election and want to hide behind a handle or remain anonymous. I told that same thing to XXXXXXX of the Anti-Tax Brigade when he would not go on the record.

Your picture is next to those posts and everyone knows it's you. So what's the problem?

I really don't want to discuss this with you over the phone because you tend to get very emotional and I think you're over-reacting here. If you want to write a blog and put your picture next to it, then you're already "out." You have put your name on letters to the editor opposing the hospital district. So I'm perplexed why you're upset about this.

Update: the  blog owner does not like that the email is posted here, although I did not put the real name on the internet and that person did not mark the email as being a private email. I originally had tried to have a phone call to civilly discuss, and left messages several times for a return call, which was shied away from. This email, attributed without a name to protect internet privacy, shows what the justifications are for doing this.

Let's just break this down.

  • 1. My husband sent an email to blog Glen Rose Current under his own name. He sent a link to his post under his own name on this site.He did not include me, nor should he have since it was something he was doing, not me. In our family, we presume that we are adults, individuals who can have our own projects, may share similar opinions, but might not. Believe it or not, we each have our own email, and don't monitor each other every minute to know exactly what the other did or did not send out. We might not, gasp, even vote the same way in an election! The email he sent to Current made him and him alone a possible source for the blogger there.

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