Columnist Claims Anonymity Is Bad For Our Country

from the federalist-papers? dept

Connie Schultz, a columnist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and a supporter of special copyright laws is back with another nonsensical column, this time weighing in on the recent debates about anonymous comments and her own newspaper's decision to reveal the name of a commenter. Her summary: anonymity is just evil and should be done away with. Not just evil, but bad for the country. Seriously:
Maybe that's the foolish optimist in me, but I want to believe that we will finally admit -- to ourselves and to the public at large -- that allowing people to hide behind anonymity has not been good for our industry, our culture or our country.
Apparently, Ms. Schultz is unfamiliar with The Federalist Papers, which were (*gasp*) written and published anonymously, and were instrumental in ratifying the US Constitution. Apparently, that was bad for our country. And, apparently, Ms. Schultz is unfamiliar with the concept of anonymous sources or anonymous tips that often drive important investigative reporting -- the same kind of investigative reporting she thinks will die without special copyrights to protect her employer.

No one denies that when anonymity is allowed people may abuse it. But getting rid of anonymity completely is going way too far and greatly diminishes and limits certain important conversations -- which are not bad for "our industry, our culture or our country." Instead of whining about anonymity, why not focus on providing incentives for people to better identify themselves?

Filed Under: anonymity


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  1. identicon
    TheStupidOne, 31 Mar 2010 @ 12:09pm

    Anonymity is bad for ...

    the government, and established athorities

    Anonymously giving opinion, or anonymously revealing facts is a fantastic way to avoid the consequences of your actions if what you say goes against an established power. You don't gather in front of the statehouse to protest the totalitarian communist government of the Soviets because they'd have killed you. You wrote papers anonymously to undermine the government without risking yourself.

    More relevant to my life I often have opinions that my employer wouldn't agree with. While I like to believe that my employer won't punish me for my opinions (so long as I do my job) I'd rather not risk it. Sometimes I like to argue a point that I'd rather not attach my name to because it is highly controversial and it really isn't important to me, but I feel like offering my $.02. Sometimes a reporter will flame people who disagree with what was written, so hiding your identity when making the points is the only way to go.

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