Monday, May 16, 2011

Letter: Thank you for allowing me to be heard

The following letter comes from reader and frequent commenter John Kendrick. —Ed.

To the editors of Blog-Lebo:

Newly formed communication channels have radically changed the political landscape. Whether we are watching changes at the national level or even in our small community, we have seen a profound change in political communications as the Internet assimilates into our lives.

In Mt. Lebanon, we have three channels that target community news: (1) MtL, a municipal publication; (2) your website [Blog-Lebo] that publishes public opinion; and (3) another website that promotes an alternative interpretation of community events. My purpose in writing to you is to thank you publicly for permitting me to express my views on your website. Whether or not you agreed with my views, you let me be heard.

Not every channel of communication in our community permits a free and open exchange of ideas. Sadly, while you have openly embraced a policy not to censor, others openly censor – even if the reason is capricious.

The question in my mind is, “If my views are censored, how many others are not being heard?” Which leads to the next question, “How credible is the information provided from a channel that censors?”

Again, I want to publicly thank Tom Moertel and Joe Polk for never censoring a single post that I submitted. I know when I read the information on this site that those who chose to express their opinions are given that opportunity. The fact that everyone can be heard makes me feel that the information that I read on this site is credible.

This is something that everyone needs to think about very carefully as they make a decision about how our community will be governed in the years ahead. Do we want transparency and an open exchange or ideas, or do we want to select candidates who stifle free speech?

Sincerely,
John David Kendrick
Mt. Lebanon, PA

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8 Comments:

Blogger E. T. Gillen said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

May 16, 2011 8:16 AM  
Blogger E. T. Gillen said...

John, you forgot to mention how you were praying for people to die in your comments on my blog. And like a fool, I published it, because at that time I wasn't censoring your comments. I learned a lesson.
Maybe your death threats will be published here.
Elaine Gillen

May 16, 2011 8:59 AM  
Anonymous John Kendrick said...

Elaine, why remove your post? I didn't get a chance to read it!

Why are all of those public meetings being recorded? Are you concerned about censorship? Are you worried that someone is not communicating "the whole story"?

Isn't everyone surprised that someone who worries about censorship would censor? Now I am wondering, how credible is the information on your site?

May 16, 2011 9:45 AM  
Anonymous John David Kendrick said...

Elaine,

Please do not defame me. I have never threatened anyone's life.

The sequence here was very simple and I haven't posted on your site in weeks - months in fact:

The issue at hand is this thread: http://lebocitizens.blogspot.com/2011/05/primary-and-crossover-voting.html

These were the sequence of comments:

Tom Moertel said:

"I thought this was the Lebo Citizens blog. If citizens are no longer welcome to talk about things citizens are generally interested in (such as candidates for elected office), what's the point? May 15, 2011 4:00 PM "

John Kendrick said:

"I want to thank Tom Moertel for never censoring me on his site, and then I want to echo his comment of May 15, 2011 4:00 PM,

'I thought this was the Lebo Citizens blog. If citizens are no longer welcome to talk about things citizens are generally interested in (such as candidates for elected office), what's the point?'
May 15, 2011 7:11 PM"

Elaine Gillen said:

"Thanks, Dick. That is an excellent suggestion. John Kendrick submitted a comment, which I chose not to publish. This might be a good time for me to take a breather. I still need to get the Commission recordings uploaded on lebocitizens.com which I have not had time to do.
Don't forget to vote on Tuesday!
Elaine
May 15, 2011 8:23 PM"

SHAME ON YOU ELAINE GILLEN! YOU CENSORED ME! SHAME ON YOU!

The question here is the character of our the officials that we elect.

Now you've turned to a negative personal attack - one that I consider to be a false and untrue, libelous statement. I have never threatened anyone's life.

SHAME ON YOU ELAINE GILLEN! SHAME ON YOU!

May 16, 2011 9:57 AM  
Blogger Matt C. Wilson said...

Uh, wow.

I read the letter and was moved to paraphrase Voltaire. John, for all that I may not agree with your message or your mode of speaking it, I completely support your right to say it.

Then I got to the comments page and now I'm just puzzled about the death threats and the censorship thing. Feels like it might come across a little empty for folks after reading all that. Oh well.

There's no denying that free speech is an essential right. But I like to think that the framers would nonetheless advise discretion and judgement in its exercise.

May 16, 2011 10:05 PM  
Blogger Tom Moertel said...

Matt,

One comforting thought is that because we live in a society where citizens have the right to speak freely and exercise that right regularly, we have all learned, through much practice, how to tell when to listen and when to turn away. When people speak without judgment and discretion, then, they may not lose their right to speak, but they do lose their ability to be heard.

Cheers,
Tom

May 17, 2011 12:05 AM  
Anonymous David Brown said...

It is each publisher's choice what they choose to print. Freedom of speech does not require every publisher to print everything that is submitted. Usually when material is rejected, the editor is responding to the needs of their organization and the impression they want to leave on their readers. For example, if I were running for public office, I would not want material I deem incendiary on my website. However, it is not uncommon that the submitter of rejected material calls such actions censorship. It is not. It is called editing.

Freedom of speech does allow anyone to publish what they want with their own resources and skill, censoring themselves, or not as the case may be. If a person does not like their treatment on print media or a blog they are free to purchase a printing press and produce pamphlets in their garage, or start their own blog on, e.g., Blogspot. Of course, such writings may still be subject to control by others if they violate a commercial service's terms of service or applicable laws. One hopes a person who champions free enterprise and law and order would not object to those controls!

So, to paraphrase Matt C. Wilson, I completely support Mr. Kendrick's right to say what he wants, on his own media. That is his recourse, not public whining about imaginary rights and imaginary wrongs.

May 18, 2011 2:19 PM  
Anonymous John David Kendrick said...

Mr David Brown,

Once again, you should study the definition of the words that you select.

Editing involves the correction, arrangement, revision, or collection of publication materials.

Censorship is the act of censoring. Censoring has three definitions as a noun, and two as as verb.
Please review them at:
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/censor

Quite frankly, I don't want you or anybody else to regulate or interdict anything that I have to say.

We live in a free country. If you don't like - change the channel, or MOVE!

May 18, 2011 6:49 PM  

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