I’ve never been one to delete comments on this blog, even if they happen to be insulting towards other readers, because I prefer to side with the First Amendment in these matters.
In fact, I’ve only deleted a handful of comments on this blog since I launched it in April 2007, mainly comments that are calling for the murder of police officers or security guards not only because these can be construed as threats and lead to legal intrusion from authorities, but because I don’t think calling for murder is something that should even be said in jest.
But insults between readers or even towards myself is something I’ve allowed to remain because I understand sometimes the discussions can get heated and I believe in free expression, even if it includes words that unsettle some people.
But now there is a newspaper editor and her boss who are getting bent out of shape because a PINACcommenter referred to her as a “bitch” and a “cunt.”
I stated that the newspaper will not report on the incident in order to not appear confrontational.
I admit I wrote that statement based on my previous experiences and observations of mainstream media newspapers’ lackadaisical approach to dealing with authorities who detain their photographers and not on any specific insight I had on the Monterey County Weekly, which turns out to be an award-winning independently owned newspaper with a solid reputation for journalism.
So I understand if that statement would upset editor Mary Duan and the paper’s CEO and Founder, Bradley Zeve, who sent me an email today, demanding that I not only delete the comment but I permanently ban the reader from ever accessing PINAC again.
And this is a guy who tells me he serves as “Free Speech/First Amendment for a national press association (Assoc. of Alterneative Newsmedia).”
Meanwhile, Duan is asking me on Twitter and on Facebook why am I allowing my readers to call her a cunt?
It’s a fair question considering most mainstream media sites would probably not allow such a word.
In fact, just last week, WPLG refused to allow me to post a link to my blog in a story they wrote about the 82-year-old lady who was tossed off the Miami-Dade Metrorail for singing gospel music.
I wanted to let their readers know that this was not an isolated incident. And WPLG, who never reported on my attack by Metrorail security guards, later told me on Facebook that they have a policy to not allow outside links in their comments section.
And that’s their right, so I didn’t make any more issue about it after that, although it shows they are missing the point about interactivity between readers in this day and age of New Media.
In her comments on PINAC, Duan accused me of being a shoddy journalist because I stated that they would never report on this incident, even though she claimed she would be addressing the issue in her next column, which won’t be published until Thursday.
Coury, by the way, reported on Sports Shooter that he had been detained a second time, but I guess that wasn’t enough for the newspaper to publish something about the incidents on their site last week (so my original statement still remains accurate).
Anyway, the whole thing is pretty stupid, and I probably would have deleted the comment except I took issue with Zeve’s email dictating to me what is acceptable and unacceptable for my site (as well as who should be allowed to access my blog) not to mention Duan accusing me on Facebook of hiding my “misogyny behind the constitution.”
You would hope she would focus her energy on writing the piece on Coury’s detainment on their site instead of twisting this whole issue into a feminist argument because it’s really about him, not her.
So I’m wondering what you guys think. Should I or should I not delete the words “cunt” and “bitch” from the comments section?
Before you answer, please read through Zeve’s email, which is posted in its entirety below:
You missed the mark completely concerning our photographer being detained. Shabby journalism, at best.
Monterey County Weekly not only was standing by our photographer, but we were poised to sue the Navy had they persisted in their approach to restrict our rights. Your opinion about it all was amateurish, and you didn’t do your homework. That’s unfortunate.
A little of our history (had you done so you might have discovered):
Monterey County Weekly won General Excellence, First Place, for all large circulation weeklies in California last year. We’re a finalist this year, again. That’s because we’re tough, and our journalism is first rate.
Monterey County Weekly sued Suterra and won, over their fight with us over trade secrets (and our willingness to publish their ingredients in a phermone they were planning to spray throughout California).
Monterey County Weekly was the only alt-weekly in the country to send a reporter to the front lines of both Kuwait during Desert Storm and again, into Iraq (unembedded).
That I serve as the Free Speech/First Amendment chair for a national press association (Assoc. of Alterneative Newsmedia).
Frankly, I’ve read your blog now, and the various attacks on Monterey County Weekly. I’ve read one of your users call my editor a bitch, and then a cunt. I’m amazed you wouldn’t delete those posts, don’t tell your users to show some respect to all readers, and that you think this contributes to the overall dialogue about the first amendment. Had you done some research, you would have discovered Mary Duan, the editor under attack, won a national award for best political column last year.
I think it’s time you deleted those postings, post some commentary about what is acceptable and unacceptable dialogue for your site and delete that user permanently from using your site. That’d show some class on your side.
Otherwise I’d say your blog is nothing more than a piece of shit, and contributes to hate and bigotry. What does Carlos Miller stand for?
UPDATE: Monterey County Weekly editor Mary Duan has gone on a rampage against me over allowing the word “cunt” to be used against her on my blog, proving that the word hit a little too close for home.
After challenging me on Twitter and on my Facebook page, which I keep public, she dedicated a post to me on her own Facebook page, which I am not allowed to comment because thankfully, we are not friends.
In that post, she called me a “pig” and a “douchebag” and went on to say that my girlfriend is way too young for me, basing her assumptions on pictures I have on Facebook, including one sexy shot I took of her baking cheese biscuits in which I caught her by surprise.
She also went on to say that the only reason me and my girlfriend are together is because either I have money or she has serious daddy issues when the truth is, I am just three years older than her. She just has good genes that keep her youthful.
Her friends are all egging her on in this fight, stating that I have finally met my match in confrontation, which tells me that Mary likes to take the shots, but obviously can’t handle the shots.
The truth is, I can wipe the floor with this woman because she already made the mistake of exposing her weakness, but I would rather not bother because I have more important things to do with this site.
UPDATE II: As I mentioned in my last update, Mary Duan felt the need to drag my girlfriend into this matter, accusing her of being way too young for me and only being with me because I have money and she has daddy issues.
Very misogynistic statements from somebody who accuses me of being misogynistic.
Even if her statements were true, it would be highly inappropriate and unprofessional for a newspaper editor to start psychoanalyzing my relationship on a public forum based on a Facebook picture on my wall just because she is peeved that one my readers called her a cunt.
It should be added that Duan, who has since deleted her comments from Facebook or might have just set her profile to private to keep her rants within her ultra-politically correct friends, prides herself on Facebook as being one of the “mean girls from the South Side of Chicago.”
Essentially, Miss Mary Mean Girl got her panties all up in a wad because Carlos wrote the story on his blog before her “weekly” publication did. She goes on to criticize his writing skills, which is absurd given Carlos’ credentials and influence in photojournalist rights & activism.
PhotographyisNotaCrime.com reached almost 400k hits last month, and continues to grow daily. Carlos is an amazing writer, and he writes the stories that other publications are too scared to publish. Carlos has been a one-man-show for 6 years and doesn’t have a staff of 27 like the Monterey County Weekly. I wonder how many hits Miss Mary Mean Girl gets on her stories, but I’m sure it’s not anywhere near Carlos’ stats.
Rachel also included the photo I snapped of her as she was baking for me that prompted Duan’s attack on her. She is also emailing the link to Duan and Zeve to ensure they read it.
And with that, I hope this little controversy ends.