Categories: Opinion-Premium

When free speech and social media collide

During a City Council workshop in March, Minden Mayor Terry Gardner declared, “You can’t win on social media. So don’t even engage there.” He was referring to city employees responding to people who spout off about the city on various social platforms.

Those words echoed in my memory during recent days as some have taken to social media to criticize the newspaper — more specifically, paying for online content.

As someone who grew up playing “the insult game” with my peers, my mind is full of “zingers” that could be launched in response to various trolls. After all, if Wendy’s can be snarky to those that are snarky, why can’t we?

There is a two-fold answer to that question.

First of all, like Gardner said, you can’t win. Social media is full of people pontificating about this or that. They put out “information” in a free-for-all format that is often not based in reality.

I once saw a meme that read, “Wow. That post really changed my position on that issue, said no one ever.” I think that pretty much sums up the effectiveness of social media arguments.

The second answer to the question is far more important. As proponents of First Amendment Freedoms, we would be hypocrites if we became “up in arms” over someone else’s free speech. Short of anything vulgar or illegal, we will not ban someone from our social media feeds just because they are in opposition to us.

The true test of freedom of speech is not when you agree with something someone says or posts, but when you are in disagreement, or even disgusted, by it.

Freedom of speech allows for a response. Wisdom reminds one of the consequences.

Dale Carnegie wrote in his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, “Remember that other people may be totally wrong. But they don’t think so.  Don’t condemn them. Any fool can do that. Try to understand them. Only wise, tolerant, exceptional people even try to do that.”

We will keep doing what we’re doing. We will keep striving for excellence and working to ensure the longevity of this newspaper and its service to Webster Parish.

Maybe we will win over some of our critics in the process. Maybe we won’t. But that’s ok. In the end, our freedoms are worth preserving and protecting.

David Specht

Comments are closed.

Recent Posts

  • News-Premium

Caney Lake recreation area opens today

Caney Lakes Recreation Areas will open back up for the 2019 Summer season Friday, May 24, according to a press…

2 days ago
  • News-Premium

Committee advances bill allowing patients to inhale cannabis for medicinal purposes

By James Smith and Lauren Heffker LSU Manship School News Service BATON ROUGE -- A Senate committee advanced a bill…

2 days ago
  • E-Edition

05-24-2019 Minden Press-Herald e-Edition

The electronic edition of the Friday, May 24, 2019 Minden Press-Herald

2 days ago
  • News-Premium

Louisiana House snuffs out bid to raise smoking age to 21

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana won’t raise its legal smoking age from 18 to 21. The House resoundingly snuffed…

2 days ago
  • News-Premium

Gas prices falling heading into Memorial weekend

Louisiana gas prices have fallen 2.7 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.44/g Sunday, according to GasBuddy’s daily…

2 days ago
  • News-Free

Holiday closures announced

In observance of Memorial Day on Monday, all government offices and banks will be closed.  All offices in the Webster…

2 days ago