The Call won’t publish unsigned letters to the editor.
In fact, each letter written to us must be signed and include the author’s name, telephone number and address for verification purposes.
While we will not publish nor give out a letter writer’s telephone number and address, every letter to the editor we publish includes the author’s name and community.
Most reputable newspapers will not publish anonymous letters to the editor and have policies similar to the Call’s regarding letters to the editor.
So why would any reputable newspaper allow anonymous comments to be posted below a news story on its Web site?
While those posting such comments may be required to register before doing so, there’s no guarantee that information is accurate as it’s easy to create an anonymous e-mail address.
And from what we’ve read, oftentimes these anonymous comments by posters with stupid pseudonyms are personally damaging, demeaning, disgusting, false or perhaps even libelous.
You’d think comments of that nature would be monitored and removed by any so-called reputable newspaper, but apparently that’s not the case.
Many of these posted comments are accusatory in nature and we believe people and entities have a right to know who or what is leveling charges against them.
Heck, if we wanted to provide a forum for that type of crud, we’d start our own inane weblog, or blog as it’s more commonly called, rife with inaccuracies, innuendos, half-truths and outright falsehoods. As we’ve said before, we do recognize and have seen, in some cases, that blogs can be used to create a forum for open and honest debate about current issues.
But you just can’t put a whole lot of stock in something that’s more entertaining than accurate.
Some may contend they have a right to post anonymous comments on newspaper Web sites and blogs. We don’t buy that as the First Amendment carries a tremendous responsibility. It doesn’t give people the right to say anything about anybody.
Certainly the Founding Fathers didn’t believe in anonymity. For example, we know the names of every one of the 56 people who signed the Declaration of Independence. How much weight would it have carried if its authors hid behind a veil of anonymity?
In short, your opinion means nothing unless you’re willing to stand up and put your name behind it.