Letter: Who’s wielding the blue pencil?
December 2, 2016
For weeks now Facebook comments responding to Aspen Times content have been appearing and then disappearing on the paper’s website.
A conspiracy theorist might see Mark Zuckerberg‘s omnipotent hand at work here, or the publisher’s. Since some of the deleted comments are (were) fairly insulting and vulgar, puritans among us might fondly think that the decency police are working hard to preserve a measure of civility in a generally debased culture. More likely, however, the censor consists of technical screw-ups, or cyber-gremlins.
Whatever the explanation, what is occurring now is that someone’s politically pointed letter — such as a recent one suggesting that Republicans wear Nazi armbands — gets published, and readers are often thwarted in their efforts to lay a glove on the offending document unless, of course, they wish to submit a letter of their own, which leads to weeks of back-and-forth pettiness on the printed page.
As long as the problem remains unresolved, perhaps the paper should refrain from publishing frivolous, often slanderous expressions of gratuitous political opinion? Better to bowdlerize up front than after the fact.