Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

We have free speech in America. Guaranteed by the Constitution, the Bill of Rights. But a First Amendment guarantee doesn’t make freedom a certainty. It’s not as if we don’t have to stand up for our rights.

But stand up to whom?

Usually, threats to free speech come from government . . . most recently, the government of the town of Southborough, Massachusetts.

The blog MySouthborough.com, run by Susan Fitzgerald, is devoted to her town, providing a platform for residents to speak out and get heard.

And there’s the rub. Sometimes people in government don’t like criticism.

Fitzgerald’s website irked local head honchos last autumn. Someone calling himself (or herself) “Marty” had commented, online, about how the town’s Police Chief Selection Committee was meeting behind closed doors. Marty suggested that committee members were breaking the state’s open meeting requirements, and insinuated that the whole process was prejudiced in favor of one particular applicant.

Sounds fairly innocuous? Not to the town’s counsel, who demanded to know “Marty’s” actual name.

Fitzgerald wouldn’t give it to him, free speech and all. The lawyer blustered about how Marty was intimidating the selection panel. A laughable claim. A blog comment is intimidation?

And then the counsel warned her — intimidating her — to watch more carefully what’s posted on her blog.

Fitzgerald remains firm. And she defends anonymous contributors. “Choosing anonymity doesn’t make their opinion any less valid,” she states.

Or any less protected.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor

3 Comments

  1. Steven Smith says:

    I have wondered where “free speech” and transparency should intersect? I have watched some blogs and even some online “letters to the editor” get hit-n-run treatment from anonymous posters who then are not accountable for their words. What about those posters who don’t back up their words with credible support or are unwilling to attach their name (and reputation / crediblity) to their words.

  2. Lou Senatore says:

    Has anyone read Animal Farm lately? It’s by George Orwell and is a fairy tale satire on how a government takes over a community – little by little, changing one rule at a time until the populace can’t remember what it used to be like. By the way, dissenters disappear. Sound familiar?

  3. Ken Howes says:

    What’s the town counsel’s name? It seems to me that if he’s going to try to intimidate the blog owner, he really ought to get thousands of emails and his activity should be made known to the entire town.

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