Kentucky Lawmaker Wants to Make Anonymous Internet Posting Illegal

by   |  03.10.08  |  Current Events

An interesting question: Is anonymous speech protected?

It would be more interesting if the Supreme Court hadn’t ruled on it repeatedly. In 1995, the Court in McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission said:

Protections for anonymous speech are vital to democratic discourse. Allowing dissenters to shield their identities frees them to express critical, minority views . . . Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. . . . It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights, and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation . . . at the hand of an intolerant society.

Too bad the reporter didn’t look that up and instead simply wrote, “Some said they felt it was a violation of First Amendment rights.”

(This story also is Exhibit A why broadcast journalists should have to take a writing course.)