Credibility does not hide behind cloak of anonymity

By MIKE ANTHONY

A few years back, we wrote that people who write anonymous letters are gutless cowards.

We still believe that, but today’s ever-changing world of technology now provides other, even more distasteful avenues for people to hide behind the cloak of anonymity.

As we’ve said before, freedom of speech carries a tremendous responsibility. We don’t believe it’s a shield you can hide behind and say anything about anybody.

At this newspaper, we take full responsibility for the news articles we publish. We also take responsibility for the opinion columns that appear on this page. On occasion, we may publish an unsigned editorial that represents the consensus of our Editorial Board, but we’ll be more than happy to reveal the identity of the editorial’s author if anyone asks.

Some people may disagree with our opinions and that’s fine, but at least they know who wrote the item in question. We don’t duck critics.

Along those same lines, we won’t publish an unsigned letter to the editor. Once again, we believe an inherent requirement of freedom of speech is that people take full responsibility for the statements they make.

That’s why we don’t like weblogs, or blogs as they’re more commonly called. While some blog administrators will post their true identity, many don’t. They’ll just use a pseudonym.

Once again, if you really have something valid or useful to say, then identify yourself.

One aspect about blogs we find laughable is how many of these bloggers have some insanely misguided notion that they’re some sort of “cub reporter.” Nothing could be further from the truth given the inane posts riddled with inaccuracies and grammatical errors that would make a fourth-grader blush.

But probably the worst part about so-called blogs is the ability to post anonymous comments on them.

In these anonymous posts, anyone can say anything — no matter how personally damaging, demeaning, disgusting, false or perhaps even libelous the comments are.

If we were to do the same, we’d certainly have more lawsuits than advertisers.

Should these bloggers stop what they’re doing? No, but they should have the guts to reveal their true identities and not permit anonymous posts on their blogs.

Disagree with this column? Then write a letter to the editor and have the integrity to sign it.