The City of Cornwall has voted to limit its online advertising money to media outlets that keep a close eye on what councillors consider "offensive or inflammatory" content.Yes, this is indeed in the Canada that Heather Mallick seems to think is becoming some sort of right-wing paradise.
However, the motion doesn't define what "offensive of inflammatory" means.Well, of course it doesn’t! That’s up to the Kommisars…errr, I mean ‘councilmen’ to decide, isn’t it?
Coun. Andre Rivette said it's clear that too many Cornwall residents take advantage of the anonymity of the internet to attack others.Oooh! This’ll be good….
"You can comment all you want, but be respectful," Rivette said, offering some examples.
"Personal attacks are comments that use the term 'sleazy' or 'crooked' to refer to people or groups of people, to refer to people in city politics," he said.Because these paragons of virtue are never, ever sleazy. Or crooked. Right?
Terry Tinkess, the co-ordinator of the journalism program at St. Lawrence College, said online commentators often feel emboldened to post hurtful statements due to their anonymity on the internet.They don’t do ‘learning’, or ‘dealing with things’. They just do ‘silencing the critics’…
"There's no doubt that some people do get a little bit out of control. When you can sit in front of the keyboard, you tend to say things you wouldn't say face-to-face," he said.
Still, Tinkess said, councillors may have to learn to deal with that and develop thicker skins.
"I think they need to get some better parameters to determine what is and what's not inflammatory," he said. "Anybody that goes into the public sector, they have to accept that there's going to be a certain amount of criticism that they're going to experience."And, once they are in the public sector, they find more and more ways of avoiding it or dismissing it.
Rivette acknowledged that the policy is partly directed at the website Cornwall Free News, a private blog where unmoderated comments frequently attack city leaders.Note that; ‘unmoderated comments’. They hate that. The very idea that someone could speak freely. Why, they might say anything! ANYTHING AT ALL!
Tinkess said that although the councillors may be railing against unwanted attention on the internet, the public forums are still useful for garnering uncensored opinion about how they're performing their duties.But you see, they don’t want to ‘hear from the people’. They just want the people to shut up and do as they are damned well told, by state approval…
"At the same time they should also be grateful for the feedback that they're getting from there. Internet chat sites, news media, boards where people can post comments — what better way to hear from the people you don't meet face to face?" he said.