Opinion Page Policy
The Romeo Times is a community newspaper that takes the thoughts and opinions of the people it serves seriously. We believe that ‘Letters to the Editor’ are an important part of public discourse. We also know that in a small town atmosphere, people can be intimidated and harassed into keeping their opinions to themselves. For this reason, we have decided to allow readers that submit letters to the editor the option to not have their names printed. The author will be known only to the Editors of The Romeo Times. We will only accept LTEs if the author’s name is attached. However, at the authors request, we will print “Name Withheld” in place of the author’s name when publishing the LTE to our site. We believe that this will provide residents with an avenue to state opinions without worrying about retaliation from their neighbors or others.
“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– and their ideas from suppression– at the hand of an intolerant society.
The right to remain anonymous may be abused when it shields fraudulent conduct. But political speech by its nature will sometimes have unpalatable consequences, and, in general, our society accords greater weight to the value of free speech than to the dangers of its misuse.”
- McIntyre v. Ohio elections commission 514 u.s. 334 (1995) Justice Stevens writing for the majority.
Though often maligned, anonymous speech has a long and storied history in the United States. Used by the likes of Mark Twain (aka Samuel Langhorne Clemens) to criticize common ignorance, and perhaps most famously by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay (aka publius) to write the federalist papers. Particularly in light of an emerging trend against vocalizing public dissent in the United States, we believe in the critical importance of anonymity and its role in dissident speech. We also believe that keeping authorship anonymous moves the focus of discussion to the content of speech and away from the speaker- as it should be. We believe not only that you should be comfortable with anonymous speech in such an environment, but that you should be suspicious of any speech that isn’t.
Our website also allows comments. These comments will be screened by the editors for appropriateness, and if offensive, inflammatory comments are posted, we will delete them.
The First Amendment gives us the right to determine our own content. This includes LTE’s and comments to articles. The marketplace will help us determine any changes to our policy and we hope to create an environment conducive to the sharing of opinions.