Wednesday, November 16, 2005

On Anonymous Blogging

It's pretty obvious I am not an anonymous blogger -- my name is part of the title, much to the dismay of my mother - "You're using your real name?" To which I replied I have been writing and reporting and otherwise shamelessly self-promoting myself for years and see no reason to stop.

Both Say Uncle and No Silence Here (see the specific links further in this post) have noted an outraged resident, who accuses an anonymous blogger of being akin to a "terrorist" and it seems to highlight a particular madness in 21st century America -- that Free Speech and Constitutional Rights are bothersome roadblocks to something-or-other, and should be controlled and contained and restrained. It's a truly deranged mindset and rolls back American History like it was a dirty, smelly rug to be tossed into the trash.

I urge you to read the entire post from Say Uncle here, in which he concludes with the thoughts:

Keep it up pesky anonymous bloggers. We are the new press. Somebody had to step up because the politicians took over the old press. Remember the lesson learned by South Knox Bubba, the politicos will lean on you if they can."

No Silence Here weighs in with his take on the issue here.

In 1995 the Supreme Court issued an opinion on a case, McIntyre vs. Ohio Elections Commission, regarding a woman who was issuing an anonymous pamphlet opposing a proposed school tax. The Court held her actions were protected by the First Ammendment.

In an article byJulie Hilden at, she considers the threats to Free Speech on the Internet in general and the McIntyre case in particular, noting:

"Accordingly, the Court could have written a very narrow opinion had it chosen to do so. But, significantly, it did not. Instead, six of the majority Justices including moderate-to-conservative Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Anthony Kennedy joined an opinion, penned by Justice Stevens, that not only protected but applauded anonymous speech.

The opinion proclaimed (as had an earlier case) that [a]nonymous pamphlets, leaflets, brochures and even books have played an important role in the progress of mankind, and cited numerous examples of the positive uses of anonymity in, for example, the Federalist Papers while taking little notice of anonymity's bad side."

When Knox County GOP leader Brian Hornback offered up this view via Say Uncle, it got my attention:

My point is this, bloggers that have enough intestinal fortitude to put it out there, knowing that their identity is on the line have far more credibility than those that want to remain anonymous. When I look at a blog and the person is a coward that refuses to reveal who they are. I ignore them and tell others to ignore them, they have NO credibility. If you are going to spend your time to affect public opinion and public policy then be man or woman enough to identify yourself.”

And no, it is hardly surprising that Hornback won't allow comments on his blog.

Speech must be controlled, seems to be the opinion. That, as I said, is an idea that ignores history, limits personal freedom and the First Ammendment, and marginalizes the fact that citizens rights are vital to our nation.

Do I support every viewpoint expressed on the Internet or around the corner? No. But I do support the freedom of expression. Read it or not, write it or not -- Free Speech is the conerstone of our rights. There have been deafenening wails that money contributed to a political campaign is Free Speech and should be protected -- I doubt it. Money is a form of influence and affluence, but nothing, not even money, can reach the power of Words.

That's why some folks fear them.

You may find those who agree with you, or you may find your views are utterly rejected.


  1. I think its a good thing.
    sometimes its the only way someone can tell
    the truth and not get fired.
    Also i think it emphasizes the message and
    not the messenge.

  2. I agree w/ you Julie.. I think in some ways we can begin to worship the blogger.. i.e. Arianna Huffington, Molly Ivins, etc. I'm guilty.. I glorify anything that shoots from their fingertips.
    And people who don't allow comments on their blogs?? Why don't you just keep a little journal in the privacy of your own home? You 'blog' because you want the message to get out there.. duh.
    And if you can't stand the heat of the comment (which you have every opportunity to erase, if they're too painful..) then save your verbage for your children's children.
    Thanks Cuppa Joe, you made me think outside the bloglines today.

  3. thanks sandegaye - i know some folk just like to stand on the Web Soapbox and tell the world what to think, but seems like most who write out their ideas do it more as a way of communicating and not just lecturing.
    always good to hear from you! and from all others as well.

  4. I don't announce who I am, although it wouldn't be too difficult to figure it out. If the government, who are working for you and me, can keep secrets, why can't the average Joe (no pun intended) keep his identity on the sly? But I think we should all have to suffer the flamers now and then.

  5. Oh, and another thing... and I suppose this goes out to Brian Hornbac: When the police receive an anonymous tip, they investigate. Mr. Hornbac's logic would be to ignore the anonymous caller because, well, the caller is anonymous. Take a look at, She became famous (or imfamous) for losing her job over her blog. Of course folks want blog anonymously, since we can end up jobless for expressing our opinions, or for reporting information that others may not want reported, or for calling someone like Brian Hornbac a lilly-livered, wee-willied, piece of horse hooey for dishing it out but refusing to take it.