Showing posts with label First Amendment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label First Amendment. Show all posts

Friday, August 26

Shocking Civil Rights: Congressman Steve Chabot

Congressman ChobatU.S. Congressman Steve Chabot, his staff, and Cincinnati police officers recently surprised constituents in Ohio by preventing them from filming a town hall meeting where the congressman was speaking (with threat of force). Eric Odom, who recently outlined everything wrong with the incident, rightly points out that the town hall meeting was a public event and held in a public place.

Apparently, Congressman Chabot forgot the oath he took upon entering office. Every congressman is required to take it.

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

Neither Congressman Chabot nor his staff ought to have asked police officers to bar phones that may record events. On the contrary, they should have defended the right of those in the audience to film the event. Likewise, the police officer ought to have considered his oath as they usually include "I will preserve the dignity and respect the rights of all individuals."

Explanations offered by the police officer included that he was doing what he was told and that freedom of the press does not include citizens. It is equally disturbing to think that any police officer, whose duty it is to protect and serve, would not have elected to protect the rights of the those filming the events as opposed to the request of the congressman or his staff.

After all, freedom of the press is not confined to journalists but to anyone who publishes, including citizens who attend public events.

Sure, there is always debate over what constitutes "the press" in the courts. And some people, newspapers included at times, have tried to distinguish themselves above citizens. However, there are several cases where the Supreme Court has already made it clear.

“...necessary to define those categories of newsmen who qualify for the privilege, a questionable procedure in light of the traditional doctrine that liberty of the press is the right of the lonely pamphleteer who uses carbon paper or a mimeograph just as much as of the large metropolitan publisher who utilizes the latest photocomposition methods.” (408 U.S. at 704)

Further, as noted by JRPOF, the Supreme Court went on to observe that “freedom of the press is a ‘fundamental personal right . . . not confined to newspapers and periodicals. It necessarily embraces pamphlets and leaflets . . . . The press in its historic connotation comprehends every sort of publication which affords a vehicle of information and opinion.’” (quoting Lovell v. Griffin, 304 U.S. 444, 450, 452 (1938)

Without question, it seems to me, this easily extends to anyone who would film such an event and potentially publish it on YouTube despite dissenters who argue that freedom of the press extends only to a privileged few. In fact, what concerns me about such opinions is that when rights are limited, they cease to become rights. They become privileges, which are significantly different.

Ergo, privileges are granted and subject to being taken away. Whereas rights are different. They are inalienable. Had the founding fathers intended something different, they might have called the first 10 amendments the "Bill Of Privileges." On the contrary, the U.S. Constitution would not have been ratified had individual rights not been enumerated.

Public criticism convinces Congressman Chabot to rethink video.

According to Chabot spokesperson Jamie Schwartz, cameras will be allowed in the future. However, the spokesperson also defended the action, saying that the cameras were taken to protect the privacy of constituents. Using such flawed logic, no public discourse would be allowed to be recorded by anyone.

Likewise, anyone who thinks the blunder is a Republican one ought to think again. Ignorant elected officials from both parties (and other parties for that matter) demonstrated lapses of memory and common sense in the face of criticism. It wasn't long ago that Democratic leaders thought to censor Twitter.

But this is also why it remains vital that people are vigilant to protect their rights over their party affiliations. If we don't, then politicians will likely burn up individual rights from both ends. Good night, good luck, and have a great weekend.

Thursday, October 22

Failing At Public Relations: Obama Administration

You know your public relations efforts are failing when you talk to more people (reach) more often (frequency) about an issue (message) and it produces a negative outcome despite having a powerful brand. When that happens, the most prudent course of action is to shut up and listen to people. But not the Obama administration.

Their strategy seems crystal clear. If you don't like a plan, they will talk you to death. And if you still don't like a plan, they will talk about you to death. And if you still don't agree, then they'll declare war. Shudder the thought.

Why the war on Fox News will backfire.

Before pointing out the obvious, I might offer up that this post has less to do with politics than it does communication. Simply put, politics doesn't have to be part of the equation to plainly see that the Obama administration is not only failing at public relations, but they also seem to be their own worst enemy (even more so than the previous administration, which one would have thought to be impossible).

There has always been plenty of evidence to support the idea that Fox News leans right. There has always been plenty of evidence that MSNBC leans left. In general, there is ample evidence to support most media leans left and talk radio leans right (but not as much as some people think).

Indeed. The vision of Walter Lippman is dead. Objective journalism is at the end of its brief, but worthwhile run. And the public has lost its appetite for true news in favor of flavored coverage.

Any questions?

And if you work for any White House administration, you have a choice. You live with it or you resort to diatribe. The current administration has chosen diatribe based on the mistaken notion that if you cannot win the debate, you beat the debater.

Of course, that tried-and-true political tactic doesn't work with the media. It only compounds the problem.

When you take media "opposition" seriously, it means you risk increasing its credibility. And in the case with the White House war against Fox News, that is precisely what is happening.

Ratings for Fox News is up, easily beating CNN and MSNBC. In fact, Fox News averaged 2.25 million total viewers in prime time for the third quarter, up 2 percent over the previous year, according to left leaning The Huffington Post.

Meanwhile, White House poll numbers are dropping. Why? As President Obama and his team obsess over criticism, anyone who is uncertain or critical of unpopular policies are added to a list of undesirables. Take your pick: health care reform policies or the struggling economic climate or the troop buildup in Afghanistan or the abandonment of a promise for open communication or the failure to deliver a tax break for seniors making less than $50,000 a year. And the list goes on, with dozens of more reasons why people are interested in hearing other ideas. And, according to the administration, you'll find them on Fox News.

Wait a minute. That's not an attack ... that's advertising. At the current rate of decline, Fox News stands to gain a majority while other media outlets play ball with the President. Even the President is speaking out against Fox News, but his position makes a play for another tactic — good-natured belittling. (Sorry, David. That will not work either.)

The real criticism, where the American public ought to be concerned (contrary to President Obama's opinion), is from the First Amendment Center at the University of Kentucky

"The White House has basically said that they don’t believe in the marketplace of ideas, they’re not willing to engage in debate, and they are going to be associated with John Adams and the Sedition Act and Richard Nixon and his ‘enemies’ list — is that the company they want to be in?” says Mike Farrell, director.

It sure seems that way. Anytime political communicators choose a clash of personalities over opinions, it means their opinion might be weak. And, based on a 10-point drop in polling, it seems to me that people are tuning to Fox News because they do not agree with the President; they are not changing their opinions because Fox News is influencing them.

The lesson is simple really. Obama won an election because the public has been rallying around those who affirm their ideas. And right now, what the Obama administration seems to be missing is they have yet to be a source or affirmation because while Americans might want some of the ideas presented on the campaign trail, they are less than thrilled with the proposed execution of those ideas.

Mostly, the bills don't deliver on promises. They might make things worse.

Thursday, August 6

Smelling Fish: The White House

As an award-winning former campaign and political reporter with experience covering the Enron scandal in 2002 turned senior campaign advisor for the Obama campaign, Linda Douglas told Media Bistro that "my intention is that I won't spin … I absolutely vow that I will tell the truth.”

Unfortunately, it seems something happened on her way to the White House.

As communications director for the administration’s Health Reform Office, Douglas seems to be employing the White House's handicapped communication channel as a means for little more than pushing back against citizen dissent. In fact, her communication team suggests taking it one step further, asking everyday citizens to tattle on their friends, family, and neighbors to the government.

"There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to" — The White House

While the post was penned by Macon Phillips, the White House director of new media who oversees, which nowadays is closely coordinated with Internet operations at the Democratic National Committee instead of the American people, Douglas' late response to Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn's appropriately scathing letter clearly places credit where credit is due.

"There is a lot of misinformation about health insurance reform circulating on the internet and elsewhere. Some of it is intentionally misleading,” Douglas responded in an e-mail. “We want to be sure people have the facts about health insurance reform that will lower costs, protect consumers from insurance regulations that deny them coverage and assure quality and affordable health care for all Americans. We are not compiling lists or sources of information. We may post fact checks from time to time to be sure Americans know the truth about health insurance reform.”

By fact checks, Douglas seems to be referring to sound bites like those she used in her video appearance, placing what President Obama has said over what may or may not be included in any legislation. Specifically, she cites speeches where Obama has said that "if you like your insurance plan, your doctor, or both, you will be able to keep them."

However, that bit of misinformation has already been vetted as inaccurate by media outlets like Investor's Business Daily because "Those who currently have private individual coverage won't be able to change it. Nor will those who leave a company to work for themselves be free to buy individual plans from private carriers." Given how often employees change jobs, the likelihood you won't automatically be enrolled at some point seems painfully obvious. And, worse, once you are in the grips of it, leaving seems likely to be reminiscent of the lyrics to "Hotel California."

But all that aside, the real communication debacle that Douglas will forever regret is allowing any mention of asking citizens to collect and report "fishy" communication, which takes us all the way back to McCarthy-era politics except without the benefit of Edward R. Murrow. Someone needs to share with Douglas the lessons learned from the past, taught by journalists who didn't trade their hats for political hocus pocus.

We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men. [...] We proclaim ourselves, as indeed we are, the defenders of freedom, wherever it continues to exist in the world, but we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home. — Edward R. Murrow, See It Now

Murrow might have been talking about a time when external threats struck fear into the hearts of the people, but they apply equally well when peddling fear seems to be quickly becoming a pastime for White House politics, a place that ought to represent its owners (the American people) over political agendas.

That's right. Elected officials merely borrow the space. They do not own it outright.

And if that idea sounds fishy to you, feel free to submit this post to be scrutinized and "fact checked" by government staffers who are paid with your tax money to support the plan you may not even want. Maybe they'll learn something, even if it is something as simple as how one heavy-handed post in social media tends to erode credibility at a faster pace.

Americans have a right to express themselves publicly and ought to retain the right to express themselves privately, without fear that mere opinions may be reported to the government. Truly, if Douglas didn't want to know the sources, she ought to have suggested people ask questions about sections they might be confused about rather than submitting "sources" so they could be corrected.

What's the difference? The difference is communication intent. One request may seek to clarify (even if that clarification is spun up by professionals) while the other smacks of collusion.

What's the cost to White House credibility? When I mentioned the White House post during a presentation in a room full of people with mixed political leanings, they all raised their hands with the hope that the government might add their names too.

Thursday, July 16

Impacting Everyone: FTC Aims To Regulate

According to Dow Jones Newswires, Lifestyle Lift released a statement yesterday that any complaints were related to the period before the current management team took over and that Lifestyle Lift “regrets that earlier third-party Web site content did not always properly reflect and acknowledge patient comments or indicate that the content was provided by Lifestyle Lift.”

The statement was attributed Gordon Quick, president. We can then only assume that Quick, who became president in February 2008 after working as a executive consultant and mentor, isn't aware of dozens of Web sites created on behalf of the company, including Dr. David M. Kent's Lifestyle Lift Fact, which attributes the cause of complaints to patients with unrealistic expectations and astroturfing by competitors.

"The Internet is filled with misperceptions perpetuated by companies that call themselves 'real this' or 'real that', diaries and '' of all sorts," it reads. "Lifestyle Lift is not the only firm being targeted by these unscrupulous websites that profit from sensationalism and hype."

"In the past at Lifestyle Lift, we have had a small number of patients who elected a procedure for the wrong reasons. These patients, although they have no medical problems, tarnish the image of Lifestyle Lift and our Doctors on the Internet," another section reads. "These unhappy patients will often complain of long recovery times, no change in their appearance,'scar for no reason', pain, missed work, unhappiness, scarring, 'no one cares', 'no one noticed me' etc."

The publication date is 2008. Most other sites that look as if they are patient generated (except for disclaimers) were also published in or after 2008.

How It Affects People Beyond Cosmetic Surgery

Lifestyle Lift isn't indicative of all cosmetic surgery or all social media. However, it's fair to assume their online approach sets the tone of the Federal Trade Commission, which has proposed new rules that could take affect this summer.

Most of the changes are harmless. Bloggers would be asked to disclose any relationship they have with a sponsor, any compensation received for a specific post, and whether the product they received was free. All of these changes follow standard ethical guidelines observed by most social media participants.

The one change that might not be harmless, as described by, is bloggers would be held liable for making false or unsubstantiated claims about products. Companies paying bloggers could be held liable too.

The policies would not be exclusive to cosmetic surgery or anonymous posts by executives, but everyone who endorses businesses and plays video games. Unfortunately, regulation of the Internet is problematic, potentially infringing on free speech and censoring honest opinions (good and bad).

Fortunately, the Federal Trade Commission is still seeking public comment. You can find those guidelines here.

Several Stories Related Astroturf And The FTC

"FTC Launches First Wave Of Smackdown On Scammy Loan Consultants" by Chris Walters, The Consumerist

"The Plaintiffs’ Bar’s Covert Effort To Expand State Attorney General Federal Enforcement Power" by Victor E. Schwartz and Christopher E. Appel, Washington Legal Foundation

"TripAdvisor Warns Of Hotels Posting Fake Reviews" by Melissa Trujillo, The Associated Press

Tuesday, July 7

Marching On Taxes: Spirited Minorities

By comparison, Tea Party rallies across the country didn't seem to pack as much punch on July 4 as they did on April 15, which is the date Americans file their tax returns with the IRS. Any why would they, as they competed with one of most revered national holidays?

According to, 1,504 cities participated, which is down from more than 2,000 reported to have held rallies in April. However, despite asking marchers to give up a few hours of their holiday, the sentiment was still felt in those cities from Boston to Santa Barbara.

The Santa Barbara Tea Party

Led by Buffalo Bill (Rolland Jacks) and Calamity Jane (Patty Engel) on horseback, the Santa Barbara Tea Party & Culpepper Society Contingent provided a surreal and spirited conclusion to Saturday's Spirit of ’76 Foundation Parade, with signs ranging from "Party Like It's 1776" and "Mad as Hell!" Despite being on the roster, the Tea Party marchers in Santa Barbara even seemed to catch the emcee with a loss for words.

"Oh, and let's hear it for the First Amendment," the local on-air personality offered up.

The marchers — concerned with out-of-control government spending, the escalating deficit, and rapid government bailouts — were thin compared to the rally of hundreds at another event held the day before. And although nonpartisan, some the signage sported on Independence Day was decidedly conservative as it included signs that laid the blame on liberals.

Where the Santa Barbara Tea Party & Culpepper Society Contingent wins, however, is in its organization, friendliness, and diversity. Frequently, newscasts tend to lean toward providing older men on-air time. But in Santa Barbara, the marchers were well represented by diverse ages and ethnicities. The crowd was evenly split, with about half offering a show of support (and some joining in) while the other half was more concerned with heading to their cars before the parade broke.

Mixing Independence Day Messages

On one hand, holding Tea Party rallies on Independence Day seems fitting enough. On the other, it adds a sad concluding commentary on a day meant to celebrate a past that some people feel is quietly slipping away. And why wouldn't it?

Even excluding the postal service, the federal government is the largest employer in the United States with between 1.8 and 2.7 million civilian employees. Add in state and local government, and those government employees swell to 22 million, excluding education. Currently, education and health services account for 19 million jobs.

In counties like Leon in Florida, Champaign in Illinois, and Johnson in Iowa, government employment soar to 18 to 25 percent of total employment. When you consider total households, that may mean that more than 50 percent of all households in some areas have at least one government employee. And, when you add in federally funded nonprofit organizations and government contractors, it becomes relatively easy to see why voting against bigger government is not always in the best interest of the majority of Americans.

Of course, there are two sides of the coin. Some people claim that a high percentage of government workers provides a shield against unemployment. Others might argue that state and local government employees earning $10 to $20 more per hour than private employees are the cause, especially because more than 40 percent of those government workers are represented by unions (only 9 percent of private citizens are represented).

If health care is ever nationalized, it would mean more than 41 million people would be directly employed by government or almost 1/3 of the working population. It's an interesting statistic in that 1/3 of the working population would touch the majority of working households. And then what?

Thursday, September 11

Digging Holes For Bloggers: Naked Boy

Sometimes, the best rule of thumb for bloggers is to think before taking action. Take J. Son, who produces Naked Boy News, for example. He almost jeopardized the entire jury selection process in the ongoing O.J. Simpson trial.

He jeopardized the trial by contacting two jurors and allegedly claiming to be with CNN. However, in this trial, like many trials, the court had previously ordered restraint by members of media to ensure an unbiased jury. In fact, media attempting to contact jurors would be in violation of a court order and charged with contempt of court and/or have their their press credentials confiscated.

Upon learning the contact came from a blogger, District Judge Jackie Glass said she could control media representatives, but couldn’t stop the public from trying to speak to prospective jurors. Other than hoping to tell him to knock it off, the judge has taken the position that there is nothing she can do.

”The folks on the street — I cannot control them,” District Judge Jackie Glass told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

I disagree. While I tend to be an advocate for the relatively few bloggers who hope to cross over into civil journalism, I also believe J. Son should be held in contempt of court just as any other publisher would.

If he is not held accountable, his actions will hurt bloggers over the long term by pressuring the courts and others to define what is a 'legitimate' journalist. Doing so would not only be bad for bloggers, but for everyone.

It’s simple really. Bloggers acting as or claiming to be journalists need to accept the responsibilities of journalists or else they risk a future where journalists will become licensed by the state and the First Amendment a mere privilege. With freedom comes responsibility.


Tuesday, August 12

Sensitizing Americans: Special Interests

There is an interesting twist to two so-called controversial advertisements produced and pulled by Mars Inc. and Heinz Company. According to an Advertising Age article, some people in the United Kingdom aren’t happy that Mars Inc. and Heinz Company pulled advertisements after being pressured by American special interests.

The Mars Inc. commercial featured a speed walker being harassed by Mr. T to become a “real man.” It was targeted by The Human Rights Campaign (HRC). The Heinz Company commercial, which featured a two dad household, was targeted by The American Family Association, which is a Christian activist group. Neither advertisement aired in the United States.

"People in the U.S. tend to be very reactive," Gerry Moira, creative chairman of Euro RSCG, London, told Advertising Age. "Everybody there belongs to a minority — even if there are millions of them.”

One spokesperson for Stonewall, a U.K. gay-rights group, reportedly said the Mars Inc. ad seemed "harmless" and that there was “no suggestion [the speed walker] was gay.” In fact, not even one U.K. gay rights group was bothered by the ad.

All in all, it seems neither the HRC (nor the American Family Association on the opposite end of the spectrum) pressure on companies has made much of a statement for homosexuals or family values. Both groups have, however, made a statement about Americans.

For more some other views, see this post, which includes an interview with Mr. T, and this post for the Heinz ad. The latter, which offended some conservatives and some homosexuals in the United States, received a mere 200 complaints in the U.K. where it aired.

Personally, I think we’re getting ban happy. It’s just too easy to call something like this ad something it’s not.


Thursday, July 31

Pulling Under Pressure: Mars Inc., Nike, Heinz, Verizon

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), which is a gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, has convinced Mars Inc. to pull an advertisement running in the United Kingdom.

According to the HRC, the ad featured a man whose appearance and actions – speed walking in an exaggerated manner – conjured up stereotypes of gay men. Worse, they say, that the advertisement portrays homosexuals as second-class citizens and that violence against GLBT people is not only acceptable, but humorous.

Although the HRC praised Mars Inc. for the decision, it seems getting the advertisement pulled was not enough. They lamblaste Mars Inc. for another Snickers advertisement that ran in 2007. Ironically, that advertisement seemed to poke more fun at men who were more homophobic than homosexual.

The Guardian, which posted the commercial, has a different opinion. It called the HRC claim — that the speed walker in the spot is homosexual — preposterous. The article suggests that Mars Inc. might listen to Mr. T rather than coddling what seems to be sensationalized oversensitivity. Apparently, Mars Inc. is not the only company.

Nike also pulled advertisements, which can be seen at the Gawker, because it was claimed they carried an anti-gay message despite the context. Verizon also pulled an advertisement under pressure from another activist group.

Meanwhile, Michael Wilke, executive director of Commercial Closet Association, which advocates and honors advertisements that feature gender identity/expression and sexual orientation issues, laughed about the advertisements being pulled.

Bill O’Reilly commented as well. He reminded viewers of a Heinz Company advertisement that was pulled for the opposite reason. It featured two guys kissing. Heinz caved, he said.

All of this sounds familiar to me for some reason. Oh, right.

“… minorities, each ripping a page or paragraph from a book, until one day the books were empty and the minds were shut and libraries were closed.” — Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Ho hum. I’m starting to wonder if I have to write another post about the difference between a writer implying context and a reader inferring context.

You know, based on the release from the HRC, I’m not so sure that Mars Inc. communicated sensitivity to the issue as much as it simply demonstrated its willingness to be browbeaten. And maybe the same can be said for Nike and Heinz and Verizon.

In fact, I’m not even so sure the activists communicated sensitivity to their own issues. It seems to me they all promoted the adoption of inferred stereotypes as identification. And that’s bad for everybody, equally.


Thursday, June 12

Burning Music: The Irony Of Anti-Violence Violence

"We are considering having something similar to a rally where parents and children can bring CDs and video games that they consider are destructive to the mind set of our youth and have a burning, just like they had a gun buyback last year.” — Pastor Richard Patrick

Blogcampaigning summed up their take on a potential anti-music/anti-game rally as something that they thought only happens on the Simpsons, which is pretty amusing since the Simpsons would likely land in the fire. Otherwise, it happens all the time.

What makes this Newport story interesting is the amount of attention it has received. Slashdot even pointed to some studies that suggest what is on the burn list might not be to blame.

One study concluded that “there were actually higher levels of relaxation before and after playing the game [World of Warcraft] as opposed to experiencing anger, but this very much depended on personality type.”

The latter is true. You never know what people are going to do when exposed to any material. For example, four years ago, a 19-year-old poured grease on her boyfriend’s face during an argument about a Bible verse. The Bible, of course, had nothing to do with the decision.

So while the pastor might be right in that some youth emulate the material they are exposed to, encouraging “burnings” seems to be a same path alternative. After all, it’s one thing to teach youth and parents how to make positive life choices, but it’s another to encourage the destruction of everything disagreeable.


Thursday, December 6

Confusing Authorities: Masked Citizens

As the old saying goes, truth is sometimes stranger than fiction, and maybe doubly so online. Two anonymous identity stories have played out very differently in recent weeks; they are dramatically lopsided and in the wrong direction.

Lori Drew Escapes Responsibility And Meier Harassment Continues

Authorities struggled with charging Lori Drew for anonymously harassing 13-year-old Megan Meier to the point of suicide. Enough so that Megan’s mother Tina Meier urged a group of north St. Louis County lawmakers and city officials to push for Internet harassment laws.

"Nothing you can do," Tina Meier told the St. Louis Post. "Nothing on the books. It doesn't fit in the box. Too bad, so sad. They get to walk free."

For all her loss and effort, Dardenne Prairie (Missouri) has since passed a law making online harassment a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and/or a $500 fine. These charges do not apply to Drew.

And yet, the Meier family continues to be harassed. Someone claiming to be Drew has set up a new blog called Megan Had It Coming, which seems authentic enough that some are speculating it might be real.

James Buss Gets Locked Up For Criticizing Spending

James Buss, a high school chemistry teacher in Milwaukee, left an anonymous comment on Boots and Sabers and was promptly arrested after authorities insisted the blogger give up the anonymous poster’s e-mail address. Buss was arrested.

The comment was reprehensible, praising the Columbine High School killers and saying they “knew how to deal with overpaid teacher union thugs.”

According to the Associated Press this morning, Buss won’t face charges because it was unclear whether the comment advocated violence against teachers, and even if it did, its language was not likely to incite others to act.

However, one wonders how authorities in one part of the country can take swift action on an apparent inappropriate comment and yet authorities in another take virtually no action after the death of a 13-year-old girl who was maliciously plotted against. And, no action has been taken as the Meier family continues to be harassed.


Tuesday, October 2

Paying For Politics: You And Me

“Thousands of active troops and veterans were subjected to Mr. Limbaugh’s unpatriotic and indefensible comments on your broadcast,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said in his letter to Clear Channel Chief Executive Mark Mays, which mirrors his statements on the Senate floor.The Hill.

Yet, as far as I know, the only people subjected to Rush Limbaugh are people who listen to his show. But, nonetheless, so it begins. Tax dollars, yours and mine, are being spent this week on letters and speeches delivered in Congress to denounce, discredit, and censor. We might as well enjoy the circus, provided the price is nothing more than tax dollars and not free speech or the right to address grievances with our government.

“Well, I don’t know. Maybe he [Rush] was just high on his drugs again,” said Sen. Tom Harkin, (D-Iowa) as reported by Michelle Malkin. “I don’t know whether he was or not. If so, he ought to let us know. But that shouldn’t be an excuse.”

Taking time to record that comment into our Congressional records is so much more important than “providing assistance for poor and elderly families to afford to heat and cool their homes, and the need to continue our commitment to improve education for our nation's children."

This week is banned booked week. It’s sponsored by the American Library Association, American Booksellers Association, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the Association of American Publishers, the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the National Association of College Stores.

Hundreds of books are challenged every year. And those who aim to strike them from the shelf often use statements that sound dangerously similar to those of Sen. Reid’s … “This comment was so beyond the pale of decency that it cannot be left alone."

Indecent. Immoral. Impudent.

What are these books? You know the ones: The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, “The Chocolate War” by Robert Cormier, the Alice series by Phyllis Reynolds, “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck, and “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou.

All of them round out the top five most challenged books since 2000, but Judy Blume is still the most challenged author. In fact, there were more than 3,000 attempts to remove books between 2000-2005.

You might note that these challenges are not ancient history. On the contrary, they are alive and well today. Challenges to our civil liberties that unnoticed would silence our people. Challenges that aim at radio talk show hosts for talking about what other people already knew. Challenges that convinced me to lend some of my Sunday to The Gylon Jackson Show to discuss a few free speech concepts:

• Don’t allow the ignorance of others to have power over you
• The abuse dies in a day, but the rule of law lasts forever
• We have to protect free speech, even speech we find offensive
• The remedy for the abuse of free speech is more free speech
• Most people want free speech for “them,” but not other people
• Critical speech gives you an opportunity to gauge issue temperature
• Specific words that offend people tend to change over time

Today, given the controversy surrounding Limbaugh, we might remember those points. Or perhaps, maybe it would be best to remember the words of Dwight David Eisenhower …

”And we have got to fight it with something better, not try to conceal the thinking of our own people. They are part of America. And even if they think ideas that are contrary to ours, their right to say them, their right to record them, and their right to have them at places where they're accessible to others is unquestioned, or it's not America.” — Eisenhower


Sunday, September 30

Talking Free Speech: The Gylon Jackson Show

"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 of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." — First Amendment, the Bill of Rights

On September 25, 1789, the First Congress of the United States ratified 10 amendments of the Constitution.

Tonight at 7 p.m. (CST), I have been invited to make my second guest appearance on The Gylon Jackson Show, this time to discuss the First Amendment and how it might pertain to bloggers. If you have not heard of Jackson before, visit his blog Don’t Bark Bite. Jackson covers a diverse array of topics and you’ll always be surprised by what you find there.

The first time I was a guest on his show was late last Thursday as part of the Bloggers Unite campaign. We discussed the campaign and various forms of abuse, ranging from domestic abuse to the abuse of free speech (if there is such a thing).

If you missed the show on Thursday, you can still catch it by visiting The Gylon Jackson Show archive. Tonight’s show, in fact, developed out of the show that discussed abuse.

So why give up part of a Sunday night to listen to an online radio show? I dunno. That is up to you. But what I can do is give you three reasons I’m giving up some of my Sunday for the First Amendment.

• As someone who has and occasionally still works as a journalist, the First Amendment is near and dear to my heart. While my confidence in it is often tested, it is one of the more profound, important, and neglected additions to the Constitution of the United States.
• Jackson is an amazing host, courageous individual, and it’s hard to believe that last Thursday was his first foray into online radio.
• “Libdrone,” who writes The Thin Red Line recently reminded me that Sept. 29 to Oct. 6 is Banned Book Week. You can learn more about it at the American Library Association.

If you cannot make the show, please come back on Tuesday for a recap, archive link, and some more information about banned book week (tomorrow I will be recapping our top posts of the third quarter). You never know. These discussions, on this blog or on the show, might open your eyes as to why civility on the Web is appreciated, but should never supercede our most basic and fundamental rights. Good night and good luck.


Wednesday, September 26

Advertising Respect: Adweek and JWT

According to a study released yesterday by Adweek and J. Walter Thompson (JWT), only 14 percent of those surveyed say they respect ad people.

Gasp! Sometimes, I am ad people. That’s me! (Well, sometimes anyway.) So maybe I need public relations help. Or perhaps some journalists might weigh in. Oh right, never mind.

With Mad Men on AMC capturing positive reviews and ad guys coming out of the woodwork to join some playful Ad Legends cameos, is it any wonder?

Maybe it’s because as niche sub-consultants who wear many hats, we don’t always see all the glam slam that is associated with the industry. I guess I’m still stuck on a concept my creative director knocked into my head years ago … “great advertising isn’t always about being clever, it’s hard work.”

I laughed at him then, but it didn’t take too long to find out he was right. Maybe not at the big firms, but certainly everybody I’ve worked with (including a couple of big firms). Take a ton of research, apply strategic communication, and just before you become so left brained you’ll never have a creative idea again, you push your thinking to the right and come up with something that conveys the right message to the right audience while being exciting enough to get noticed.

Here’s a reality check. The survey only accounts for 966 Americans in a random online survey. That’s not only a pretty slim number, but it was also conducted in an environment that is largely predisposed against advertising. And the real irony, the survey was conducted by an advertising agency.

What the survey does do is provide meaningful discussion points.

• 84 percent agree (strongly/somewhat), “Too many things are over-hyped now."

Just yesterday, I said buzz was not a measure. Maybe consumers agree.

• 74 percent agree, “The Internet helps me make better product choices."

This finding has social media pundits in a tizzy claiming consumers want authentic engagement. (As if social media was devoid of hype; as if pretending to be someone’s “friend” to sell them is somehow better than selling them something.)

• 72 percent agree, “I get tired of people trying to grab my attention and sell me stuff.”

Which is a tremendous irony in consumer behavior considering Harris Interactive research that suggests 100 percent the opposite.

• 52 percent agree, “There’s too much advertising — I would support stricter limits.”

These folks obviously need a trip here.

• 47 percent regard “Advertising as background noise.”

Bad advertising is background noise, you bet. Only about 10-20 percent of advertising is any good, and I’m being generous. Most ads, ironically, are company-dictated because, well, companies don’t trust ad people either.

And the list goes on. And on.

“The study significantly uncovers a basic disconnect between the ad industry’s ‘world view’ and that of its audience,” JWT reports. And that is probably the most truthful statement in the entire report.

As for the rest, even if we were to consider the sampling size to be valid, here’s the real rub in this report. Ad people might have only scored 14 percent as a repected profession, but they still beat national politicians and car salesmen. Lawyers only scored 19 percent and journalists (truth tellers) a dismal 26 percent. The ONLY two other professions even asked about were teachers and doctors, and they barely broke into the 70s.

Funny. Maybe advertisers are not the only ones using hype these days. That Adweek hyperbole headline really drew me in for a minute.

Hmmm ... maybe consumers are just not all that trusting anymore. Sometimes, I don’t blame them. (Hat tip: Recruiting Animal.)


Thursday, August 30

Playing Politics: Everyone Under The Sun

While most political coverage has shifted to the bathroom habits and hypocrisy of Sen. Larry Craig (reality check: no amount of spin can save this), there is a largely unreported political story taking place that may be more concerning to some and much more far reaching in considering topics such as transparency.

In May, director Oliver Stone, filmmaker behind “JFK” and “Born on the Fourth of July” has produced a television spot ad for, which featured Iraq war veteran John Bruhns calling on the government to bring U.S. troops home. You can see the spot, along with how the Democrats, Republicans, and Independents responded to the ad in real time at Slate.

ABC News reported on the advertisement throughout the production. It also covered a rebuttal advertisement produced by Freedom Watch. When you compare the two stories, the coverage seems as polar opposite as the advertisements.

Similar to the Stone-produced ads, Freedom Watch produced testimonials of Iraq war veteran John Kriesel, who lost both of his legs but still supports the actions abroad. You can view this advertisement here. CNBC and MSNBC have refused to air the ads outright, which seems contrary to their decision to run a poignant Associated Press story on the indifference to the First Amendment.

You know, there always seems to be ample pressure placed on social media and bloggers to practice full disclosure, but the reality is full disclosure is not a prerequisite to objectivity in the world in which we live. Perhaps Copyblogger is right (which is good, because I've said the same before). We don’t really want it and even if we had it, we most certainly wouldn’t like it. The best we can do is attempt to guide it from time to time.

So, when you look at advertisements like those produced by MoveOn and FreedomWatch, there are a few truths to be found: military personnel are as conflicted about Iraq as the country; the media is only obligated to run and protect the stories it wants to protect and run; tragedy and conflict sell better in the news than charity and camaraderie; and regardless of how we feel about Iraq, our troops deserve better than being paraded around for the purposes of political gain.

Every year, I tell public relations students the same thing: when it comes to existing in the public eye as an individual, as a company, or as a community, perception is reality. And while that might be, please try to remember that it isn’t.


Monday, July 23

Preserving Freedom: Net Neutrality

According to Ghost In The Machine, written by Sharon Herbert, more than 29,000 comments were submitted to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) since it opened an inquiry into net neutrality. An additional 670 comments were filed by groups and individual Internet users on the deadline, July 16.

So is that it? Theresa Hall reminds BlogCatalog members that’s not it. She wrote U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Maryland) with her views that Internet service providers should not be allowed to discriminate by speeding up or slowing down access to Web content based on its source, ownership, or destination.

How did the senator respond?

I understand your concern that the Internet should not favor certain content or services over others. I believe that the Internet is not only an important tool, but a vital resource. It has allowed millions of Americans to communicate instantly with people around the world. It has put access to libraries of information at everyone's fingertips. The use of the Internet continues to grow, and the ways we use it continue to expand. Your views on network neutrality will be very helpful to me as Congress considers this issue.

As someone who frequently works in political arenas, I might point out that Sen. Mikulski's response is largely neutral, demonstrating little movement from her position last year. This is surprising to me, given Maryland state legislators acted on their own to put a mandate into place.

So what is this all really about? Some, like the New York Times, suggest it has to do with Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile, and others always being afraid of the competition, which is why iPhone is only available from one carrier (in Europe, you can change carriers any time regardless of the phone you want). In the years ahead, that competition is likely to include companies like Skype and Google, which have called on the FCC to open up more equipment and software options in the wireless industry. In fact, Google is looking for another leap forward with a wireless spectrum in which chunks of radio frequency currently used for analog TV would be freed up by a switch to digital.

Regardless of this behind-the-scenes wrangling, however, the real stake holders in net neutrality are people like you and me because we funded its creation with a combination of tax dollars and subscription fees. Without net neutrality, Internet carriers would very feasibly be able to control content on the Internet by favoring those sites willing to pony up cash for the carrier; or, as they have with mobile phones, lock up technologies so they can be exclusive providers; or create steeper tier systems similar to cable programming; or, quite possibly enforce net censorship.

I suggest, as always, education is the key to understanding. Catch the entertaining video version on YouTube, keep up to date by visiting sites like, and write U.S. senators and representatives in your state so you have a better understanding of their positions.

In fact, I am doing the latter today and I'll be happy to share their responses in the days ahead. Good night and good luck.


Tuesday, July 17

Flapping Over Flags: City of Las Vegas

In May, I wrote about a local controversy over Towbin Hummer's 30-by-60-foot American flag and how the Las Vegas City Council ordered it down after residents complained that it was just "too aesthetically unpleasing, too commercial, and too loud."

Today, The Las Vegas-Review Journal reports that the Las Vegas City Council will rehear the case on Aug. 1. The reason: District Court Judge Michael Villani sent the issue back to the City Council on Friday, finding that business owner Dan Towbin should have been allowed to have an attorney represent him before the council.

Adding this quick update seems especially appropriate today because while the Las Vegas City Council will discuss whether flying the American flag is "too aesthetically unpleasing," Nevada brothels were just given permission to advertise their services in Nevada counties where prostitution is illegal.


Selling Sex: Nevada Brothels

Steve Sebelius, editor of CityLife, seems especially happy in his post on July 12, reporting that U.S. District Court Judge James Mahan made a ruling for summary judgment on behalf of the plaintiffs in Coyote Publishing et. al. v. Heller. He should be: CityLife has some new potential advertisers.

What is Coyote Publishing et. al. v. Heller? It is a lawsuit filed by Allen Lichtenstein, general counsel to the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada on behalf of several newspapers, that sought to void two state statutes that prohibited brothel advertising in counties where prostitution is illegal.

Right. Although some people do not know it, while the majority of the state allows legal prostitution, the two largest populated areas, Clark County (including Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City, and Laughlin), and Washoe County (including Reno and Lake Tahoe), do not have any form of legalized prostitution.

I co-wrote, with our former employee Ellen Levine, a feature on this subject for a First Amendment magazine back in 1994, when the Clark County Commission attempted to hinder legal and licensed escort services from passing out handouts because they were “a pedestrian hazard.”

Some of the arguments were sound, like those of Jim McDonald, a vice squad detective for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, who said once non-prostitution escort services were licensed, they had a tendency to add services until it was often difficult to distinguish whether they crossed the line or not. Other arguments were not so sound, those made by the Clark County Commission at the time, claiming “handicapped people in wheelchairs might not be able to get by someone handing out fliers.”

To be honest, it was hard not to sympathize (a little) with police officers despite the fact that escort handouts were protected by the First Amendment. Why? Well, a lot has changed since then; but in 1994, a modest $1 million per year paid five officers to make approximately 20 arrests per night. At the time, there were only about 200 illegally working girls in Downtown Las Vegas (considered the lowest) and up to five times that amount on the Las Vegas Strip (where the girls worked casino bars), depending on what events were in town.

But for the department, they also had a daunting task because many tourists have heard that prostitution is legal in Nevada, but do not know it is illegal in Clark and Washoe counties. Risqué escort advertising only reinforced the confusion. In fact, Thalia Dondero, then a Clark County commissioner, told me that the confusion would be even worse if it wasn’t for the restrictions of brothel advertising. (Brothels in other areas of the state could not even buy a tombstone advertisement in the Yellow Pages.)

Of course, the new federal ruling changes all this, allowing brothels that are legal in neighboring counties to advertise their services in counties where prostitution is illegal. I can only imagine the confusion will increase tenfold.

Despite leaning toward being a First Amendment purest, I wonder what this ruling might mean for the rest of the nation, given there are many legal products restricted and/or barred from advertising, tobacco and alcohol included. I can’t help but wonder if Judge James Mahan’s logic means it might even be okay for Amsterdam businesses to advertise hash in the United States.

I appreciate this might sound strange coming from someone who assisted a few gaming properties in their case to loosen or remove casino advertising restrictions, but my reasoning was pretty clear then: legal casinos have a right to advertise anywhere gaming is legal. But this new ruling, which I have yet to form an opinion about, seems to suggest legal businesses have a right to advertise even where their products or services are illegal.

“But for our part, the motive wasn't financial. (We're not going to get a raise, or avoid a cut in pay, because of this lawsuit.),” says Sebelius. “The motive was philosophical: We honestly believe that telling a newspaper it cannot accept truthful advertising from a legal, licensed business is wrong. It's prior restraint, and it does violence to the First Amendment's guarantees.”

You know, I’ve always liked Sebelius. For the most part, he’s a straight shooter. But this time around, even I have to wonder when he suggests that Coyote Publishing et. al. v. Heller won’t be a boon for media outlets, billboard companies, and publications like CityLife.

“Speaking of money, some will argue that the corporate masters of CityLife pursued this litigation only to make money from brothel ads. Personally, we don't think there's a gold mine there, but certainly, making money is what corporations do,” he said.

No gold mine? In Storey County, money made from licensing brothels generates the county’s entire operational funds. In Lyon County, the licensing supports most if not all of the county’s hospital. In fact, Dennis Hof, owner of the Moonlight Bunny Ranch and Bunny Ranch Two in Lyon County, has already said he will be tripling his advertising budget to go big in Reno.

Hmmm … I’m starting to think, no matter what anybody thinks of prostitution, that this First Amendment “victory” will eventually backfire, thereby allowing government to find new ways to limit free speech. Nowadays, you never know.

Thursday, July 5

Protecting The Net: Network Neutrality

While we were all celebrating the Fourth of July yesterday, it was easy to forget that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has decided to abandon net neutrality and allow telecom companies to charge Web sites for access. It's a clear blow to the principle called "network neutrality" that preserves the free and open Internet.

The are only ten days left for bloggers and other people who use the net to make their case before the FCC. At Save The Internet, you can learn a lot about the importance of network neutrality. And you can add your story to the thousands who believe like I do, that the Internet belongs to the people. Congress might remember its role to protect its people wherever they may be, even online.


Monday, May 7

Panning Parodies: Rush Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh has seemingly revived the Don Imus debate despite coming under fire for very different reasons.

Whereas Imus made racially insensitive statements that some consider bad humor and others call rampant radio racism, Limbaugh has been airing a parody song entitled “Barack the Magic Negro,” a piece about African-American Sen. Barack Obama’s popularity with many white voters. While Obama's campaign has dismissed the parody as dumb and not something "anyone takes this too seriously,” some Limbaugh critics are attempting to do just that.

“We take these things seriously because there’s a consistent pattern of them making their way into the mainstream media and then the mainstream consciousness,” said Karl Frisch, a spokesman for Media Matters, as told to the Chicago Tribune. “It’s important to shoot these things down.”

The parody, which began in March, is receiving more attention now primarily because of the recent Imus case as well as increased threats with racial overtones being received by Obama. Such threats have prompted a special security detail to be assigned to him on the campaign trail.

The parody seems to poke less fun at Obama than it does Rev. Al Sharpton. The comedian singing the parody imitates Sharpton, bemoaning Obama’s popularity with whites who will, the lyrics predict, “vote for him and not for me ‘cause he’s not from da hood.”

As difficult as it is to do, an objective view might find that the parody is neither funny nor racist. It seems to be insensitive (perhaps ignorant and certainly offensive to some people) in its attempt to draw attention to presumed differences between the two men (Sharpton and Obama). Obama's campaign calls it right: it is not to be taken seriously.

In fact, taking the parody seriously, as Media Matters attempts to do, seems to risk more tension than the parody might generate on its own. It also seems to add more weight to a revived "PC" argument that censorship works. It does not.

No, I've never been a fan of name calling (especially along racial, religious, and economic lines), but I am a fan of the First Amendment. As such, I am predisposed to look at such issues differently.

Although name calling and unwarranted labeling causes an emotional reaction in all of us, I also think it makes more sense to let such rants stand because the words say a lot more about the name caller than the person or people being called a name. And if we overreact to other people's mistakes, it might say even more about us.

Case in point: I like Limbaugh all right, but perhaps he lost a little credibility airing this parody for so long. I used to like Media Matters somewhat, but it is becoming more and more difficult to like them when they pay a disproportionate amount of attention to what "people they like" say vs. what "people they don't like" say. It's silly at best and hypocritical at worst.

More importantly, we best serve ourselves by not giving in to our own fears by overreacting to people who call us names or poke fun at our faith, heritage, values, politics, professions, or even the color of our skin. Anytime you experience anger over what someone says, it might be worth considering where that anger comes from. Are we afraid they might be right or that other people might think they are right? Hopefully not; but often, sadly so.

I'm not saying we should ignore name calling or hate speech, but rather suggesting that there are ways to address ignorance without labeling it as racist (unless it is on its face). That might be more effective than censorship.

You know, at the end of the day, I'll probably disagree with Obama on politics, but today I agree with his dismissal of the parody. It was smart on his part. As for his heritage, it's as irrelevant to me as President Kennedy being Catholic or President Bush being from Texas. Try as some might to prove otherwise, labels and other nonsense sidebars really don't mean that much.


Tuesday, April 17

Censoring Farce: WorkFarce

Sometimes it's hard to distinguish the heroes and villains of social media. It is the person or persons who moves to censor supposed blog bullies? Or is it the anonymous blogger penning satirical prose? Or maybe, there never were any heroes or villains to begin with. Maybe there is only a whole bunch of people who could accidentally send us into the dark ages.

Sure, most people outside of the recruiting industry have never heard of WorkFarce, which was an anonymous satirical blogger who some might say crossed the line of professional decency while others might say made pointed observations of the absurdness of the industry, the world, and human nature in general. But for people who did know him, the surprise success of his blog seems well-grounded in its objective: give people a good laugh without revealing himself, his employer, or making apologies.

Most people will never hear of WorkFarce because one or several people tracked him down and contacted his employer, demanding that, he says, "I publicly reveal my identity, (who I am, what I do and who I work for) and then issue a public apology." Hoping to circumvent harm to himself, his family, and his employer, he elected self-censorship in the face of threat and ultimatum.

I'm all for calling a duck and duck, and in this case, the duck was blackmail. WorkFarce's only crime was naivete.

Yes, it is extremely naive to believe for one second, that as an anonymous blogger, you will remain anonymous forever, especially if you have taken to criticism, whether or not such criticisms are labeled satire. It is as naive as sending a critical e-mail without the assumption that someone might turn it in to the person you are criticizing. It is equally naive not to recognize that the closer your satire or criticisms touch the truth, the more likely someone will attempt to embarrass, malign, or censor you.

I see censorship as, once again, a growing trend in America and this trend is something that needs to be much more than watched. Censorship, misrepresentation of statements made within a context, and blackmail are beginning to win over "truthful, accurate and fair communication that facilitates respect and mutual understanding."

All around us, singular comments are taken out of context or turned into something they were never intended to be. Bryan Ferry, Don Imus, and a host of others are all being targeted by censors, blackmailers, and people who prey on the fears of others.

To be clear, while I do not endorse or condemn (though I may question their style, logic, and word choice) what any of the above public figures have said, we must be more careful not to confuse the cries of censorship as more valid than the speech they attempt to censor. The remedy for the abuse of free speech is always more free speech.

In an effort to keep this confined to a manageable topic, I was not a fan of WorkFarce and rarely read his material. Many people, however, did. We had an engagement once or twice, but nothing beyond that. On occasion, I freely admit there was something relevant in the writing and the wit could sometimes, er, once in a great while, be appreciated. No, I am not a fan of anonymous blogs, but far be it from me to judge what others feel they must do for the preservation of their jobs and livelihood. Being anonymous is their burden to bear, not mine or anyone else's.

I am also not a fan of blackmail. And in this case, the move to supposedly unmask, embarrass, and censor WorkFarce was pathetic at best, an exercise in malice at worst. Given WorkFarce has gone to great lengths to protect his employer (and hopefully did not attack others in the industry simply for the potential benefit of his employer), the only harm that could have been done to anyone was only what they chose to infer from his posts.

In fact, by most accounts, WorkFarce was not a potential shill, backed by people with political or business agendas. So given that the apparent unmaskers are hoping to conceal their own identities in doing so suggests to me the ultimate in hypocrisy.

Let me say it again: the remedy for the abuse of free speech is always more free speech, lest we forget the immortal words attributed to Pastor Martin Niemoller:

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I did not speak out;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

Ergo, be careful with cries for censorship. For when the worst comments go largely unanswered except for censors, even the worst ideas are more likely to take root within the fabric of the people for all time. Yes, though I am disgusted by the notion, moving to censor hate speech will only lead to more hate speech.

Sure, some might say it seems I am contradicting my own advice on message management within the context of strategic communication. But for me, the difference is exceedingly clear: message management is about trust, honesty, and consensus not fear, force, and censorship. Good night and good luck.

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