No, we don't have to publish you because of 'freedom of speech'

Tom Jackson
Apr 7, 2014

The other day, we got an email of complaint from a guy who calls himself "jacksonbrowne1960." I'm guessing it wasn't the singer, although I don't know.

Mr. Browne seemed to be unhappy, apparently because we removed at least one of his comments from our website. He wrote, in part: 

"It is interesting that you have taken a stance that you have fought against for years.

"I am talking about suppression!  You are no better than a communist government that tries to suppress the masses.  If one speaks their objections
against the SR you block them and remove their post ... Again, please remember that people fought long and hard to have freedom of
speech and give us the same opportunities through your publication."
I see this silly argument over and over again from people who apparently don't know what the phrase "freedom of speech" actually means. 
The First Amendment, what people usually mean when they talk about "freedom of speech," means that the government can't censor the paper. If I criticize President Obama in my blog, he can't arrest me or shut down our website.
Freedom of speech has nothing to do with whether the Register, a private company, is obligated to publish anything. The editors can, and do, decide whether they are going to put Tom Jackson's article on page one, put it deep inside the paper or not publish it at all. They "suppress" any number of syndicated columns, cartoons and comics by picking the ones they like, and leaving out the ones they don't like. News about the New York Mets is routinely "suppressed" on our sports pages, so that we have room to run articles about the Cleveland Indians. 
jacksonbrowne1960's complaint seems particularly odd given that modern technology means that no one is muzzled. There is nothing to keep him from going on Twitter, or Blogger, or Wordpress, or any number of other free Internet platforms, and saying pretty much anything he likes. 



Re: "The First Amendment, what people usually mean when they talk about 'freedom of speech,' means that the government can't censor the paper."

@ Mr. Jackson:

The definition is broader than 'just' freedom of the press:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

IMO, you're spot on with the remainder of your analysis and observations.

Licorice Schtick


But what a mess we have. Jackson refers to "people who apparently don't know what the phrase "freedom of speech" actually means." But that's whatever the whims of the Supreme Court says. And they say that money is speech, so that paying politicians for their votes is tantamount to free speech. This absurd construct has made a joke of our "democracy," turning it into a plutocracy, and the founding Fathers must be spinning in their graves. What good is free speech if plutocrat-owned "media" drowns it out? Even formerly public "public media" is now corrupted by private money, so that the public interest is now fully marginalized.

There is no path back to justice, short of impeachment of certain corrupt Supreme Court Justices, and a Constitution Convention uncorrupted by money so the the government can again be of The People, by The People, for The People.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

We can both invoke Supreme Court term limits and have a non-"runaway" Convention of the States. In fact one of those two is currently happening and so far about half the states are on board with laws supporting and limiting delegates' roles. The fact it hasn't been brought up in major outlets (that I know of) is actually a blessing so it continues to be under the radar enough to keep it pure and from the squeals of Congress.

To follow its progress:


Re: "a Constitution Convention uncorrupted by money,"

Ain't gonna happen.

The politicos have been attempting to remove money from politics for over one hundred yrs. and they will never succeed.


"Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half."

- John Wanamaker


@ Licorice Schtick: + 10 (Thank you)


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).


i have had comments removed before also. i understand that there are rules on this forum that we must follow. i also know that the folks at sandusky register can remove comments for no reason at all, if they want to, not that they do, but they can. seems to me they are pretty lenient with us most of the time..


Providing a forum for public discussion is a great service.

However, allowing it to be anonymous makes the comments section no more than a graffiti wall.

Allowing anonymous posters to defame others with no consequence is just a damn shame. You are guilty of selling your birthright for a bowl of gruel.


... said the anonymous commenter..

Peninsula Pundit

Oh, the Irony of it All!

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

It is a conundrum for sure. When I created my account here I was on the fence originally. What if someone didn't like what I had to say and they decided to break my windows? Damage my car? Burn down my house? Then I saw that I was getting too paranoid and that someone who is that petty is going to use any excuse anyway and the things I have to say are more important than replaceable physical items. (That said I'd prefer to not have my things broken, heh.)

By posting like this it helps me help myself from narrow thinking or selfishness. I may as well be speaking on behalf of all my customers when I post under this name, and I assure you their interests and lifestyles are vast. So I must be thoughtful, responsible, and try to find and appeal to the common denominator that unifies us all and shouldn't be partisan in nature. We all deserve better, not just some.

I'd like to think I've done a good job so far, but it's not for me to judge. I haven't heard complaints in the shop about it. In fact I often use the comment section to teach the people here about what is going on and also (in many cases) how to NOT talk about/defend/point out an aspect of the story. I'd recommend you do the same with people in your family or at work Blue.Streaker. Turn people onto this site and have them read along as the discussion grows from the stories.

You'll find your friends/family/coworkers will develop their favorite "characters" here to watch for and read. I'll say that some commentators are better examples than others and are infamous in their own rights. We kind of wait for responses as NASCAR fans await an accident - hope it doesn't happen but when it does PHEEEEW! You and yours may well do the same.

Stop It


Pterocarya frax...

Poor jacksonbrowne1960...he comes on here spouting conservative talking points all the time, but not even sharp enough to realize that the real Jackson Browne is a hard core liberal.

jacksonbrowne1960 is "The Pretender".

Peninsula Pundit

When did he pick up the '1960?'

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I agree with you, Pter. Dropping petty partisan one-liners is hardly a way to earn credibility or respect in these forums. As you have pointed out, such behavior is completely ineffective at convincing others who don't think like you, and makes the poster look ridiculous to everyone else.

I hope that this article and comments like ours are taken a bit more seriously.


Re: "Dropping petty partisan one-liners is hardly a way to earn credibility or respect in these forums. As you have pointed out, such behavior is completely ineffective at convincing others who don't think like you, and makes the poster look ridiculous to everyone else."

Somebody's ears must be burning,.. if it didn't go right over his head...

Pterocarya frax...

A bunch of conservative posters on here made a big deal of me making one off the cuff negative remark about a state representative that was in poor taste. I was called many horrible names in the comments on that story both before and after I apologized for the comment. I went on to explain the issues I have with that elected official have to do with his votes on specific issues, and named those votes.

Does that make that comment right? Of course it doesn't. But at least I owned up to it, which is more than I can say for haters like Darwin's Choice, Dr. Information, Donegan (who steals Michael Savage's liberalism is a mental disorder line), etal.

Maybe you, grumpy, think you are better than that, but when you make comments like "if it didn't go right over his head" shows that you agree with that mindset that liberals are inferior.

The day you quit calling Big Dog and the president and the first lady names, and start calling out some of those conservatives I just mentioned, is the day you might have some moral authority to make negative comments about me.


Re: "The day you quit calling Big Dog and the president and the first lady names, and start calling out some of those conservatives I just mentioned, is the day you might have some moral authority to make negative comments about me."

I have never called obama anything but obama, same with bush, or obama's wife, actually I don't think I have ever referred to obama's wife, or any President's wife. With big dog, he started calling me pooh when I first started posting, I ignored it for a month and it didn't stop. I got tired of it and started calling him piddle puppy. Now he rarely calls me pooh and I rarely call him piddles. I guess he likes it as much as I did. When he stops I will. You can go back and look and see I didn't post in the article you ripped the state representative. I don't know him, he isn't my representative and I know little about him. Just about he only times big dog does more than bumper sticker replies are when he copies and pastes either left wingnut blogs, which really do lean way far left or opinion pieces either from Huff-Po or Salon... rarely he cherry picks a small piece from Wiki. Which would be fine but he never gives a citation for them, and whines when others use an opinion piece or wiki.

As far as thinking liberals are inferior, I have never written on here that all liberals are anything. I have made comment about individuals. I was talking about dog, not liberals. I know and am friends with several liberals, one is especially liberal, and the difference is we speak to each other and don't make general statements about all conservatives or liberals. If you read dogs comment you will see most if not all are general comment about all conservatives. You won't see that from my writings here. I will make comments about policies, "parties" (not the people in the parties, but the "parties"),votes, laws, taxes, and rarely individuals. I try not to lump people into groups that believe in lockstep, as few people agree with everting a "party" is supposedly for.


I never said i hated you. I just stated you have a mental disorder and are against individual sovereignty vs a totalitarian centralized government aka liberalism. Which according to you is not about liberty at all but a police state that baby sits the citizens.

The Big Dog's back

I'm not trying to convince right wingnuts of anything. I know better. It will never, ever work. As soon as other non right wingnut posters understand this, the better we are as a country and can move forward. You have to convince yourself that being a right wingnut is nothing but a dead end street.


is that the only thing you know how to say? Every comment you say the same thing, shows your damn ignorance

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

If you feel my agreement with Pter applied to you, so be it. But your prejudice against others is baffling and sad. Don't get too busy screaming at others who can only scream back (the other "one-shotters") when there are others who are willing to listen if you'd give them the opportunity to do so. The kids always listen when mommy and daddy fight.

Now your advice I'm sure could be meaningful to other people. Just as being a left-wingnut is fruitless and a waste of one's time, talent, and resources. But be glad that you are preaching to the choir when it comes to me. I have none of the above three things to waste so have been anything but a right or left wingnut.

The Big Dog's back

My prejudice against others? Please explain.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

"I'm not trying to convince right wingnuts of anything. I know better."

You have pre-judged that either you are incapable of outreaching to others because of your own lack of resources or understanding, or, you have imposed a prejudice on a broadly-defined set of people that they are incapable of doing something that is common and rational to human beings everywhere. In addition to calling them names, you have dehumanized them as being incapable of holding a civil discussion using common terms in order to persuade them mentally, philosophically, morally, and/or emotionally.

"As soon as other non right wingnut posters understand this, the better we are as a country and can move forward."

You have the prejudice that what you say must be correct and the universal law of the land that all must flock to it. That your way you pre-judged as correct and right is the one and only path humanity must follow. If only everyone would think exactly like you we would have no problems. That is, technically, correct. It would be harmonious in its singularity. Unfortunately, your notion is alien to humanity and can never be achieved.

I appreciate your question spurring dialog and hope you find my answers timely and thorough. If you have any more I'll be happy to answer them for you.


good luck with big dog..

There you go again

Why bother even reading the comments from Big Dog? I skip the comments every time I come across them in these posts. Not worth reading the Trash Talk.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I give him the benefit of the doubt that he is a civil and rational person who can be shown that he doesn't need to tease, taunt, or hide under the skirt of a party in order to think and make points. It's up to Big Dog himself to disprove the standard against which I hold him.

We all may have opinions on his progress in doing so, but I won't lower the bar for him. He, unlike others (coasterfan for example, though I'd be happy if he broke that habit), actually bother to reply to questions and dialog. I respect that he is willing to give his time to throw something in on the conversation instead of using intermittent drive-by one-shots.

It's the same reason why I called out PBJ. Before a few days ago he seemed fine. Then he suddenly snapped or imploded and just went berserk here lobbing ham-fisted, partisan accusations and encouraging people to join a one-party system as a way to fix things.

Stop It probably has been said in many texts before or after, but this one comes to mind about The Dog:

"And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing."

The Big Dog's back

I'm not prejudiced, I dislike all right wingnuts equally.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

This is why we can't have nice things.