Monday, November 12, 2012

Off on a tangent

The other night, Salon posted an article calling out Jezebel for crossing a journalistic line.  Jezebel posted an article about the racist, hateful tweets being posted post election results.  They noticed that many of the really horrible tweets were coming from school kids who clearly identified their schools on their public twitter feeds.  Jezebel looked up the schools, in several cases were able to read the student handbooks, and contacted schools to ask if they were aware of the tweets and how they were responding, given handbook rules admonishing against such hateful speech.  They then posted an article describing the various responses or lack of response they got from the schools.

Several kids tried to claim their accounts had been hacked.  Several twitter accounts were deleted, and some didn't seem to be altered a bit.

Jezebel claims that this was a teaching moment, and that they wanted to know if schools were taking that opportunity.  Salon cried foul.  They said that it wasn't "fair" for Jezebel to put these young peoples' futures in danger over youthful stupidity.

I disagree.  I am dismayed when I see, time after time, people misunderstand the first amendment to believe that all speech is covered and that you are violating rights by expecting people to stand by their words.  I agree that this was the perfect opportunity to teach kids that with the right of freedom of speech, comes responsibility.  If you are going to post in public forums hateful, violent, racist, or bullying statements, you have to be willing to take responsibility for the fall out.  And, I believe it is the responsibility of the electronic universe to call out people for posting hateful, violent, racist, sexist, and/or bullying statements.

But, I can't help but wonder why the GOP or the Romney campaign isn't stepping up?  Quite a few of the offensive posts included @ and # to the Romney campaign.  Without a doubt, the GOP and the Romney campaign are well aware of the words of people who wish to associate themselves with those organizations' platforms.  And, given the obvious problems the GOP has with female and/or non-white voters, you'd think they would earn some street cred to come out against such posts and telling people who cite them in such posts to cut it out and even look into legal action for threatening and/or illegal posts.  You'd think they'd want that, right?

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