Free Speech Run Amok

If you don’t know about the current and impending removal of Confederate-related monuments in New Orleans, including Robert E. Lee, P.G.T. Beauregard, Jefferson Davis and the Liberty monument (already removed under cover of darkness last week), you must be under a rock, because it has made the national news.

This weekend, The Holy Ground bar on the corner of South Jeff Davis Parkway and Canal Street had a run-in with some pro-monument protestors, who, according to the Mid-City Messenger, say that the bar refused them service and “trash talked” them while “liquoring up the enemy.” The owners deny the charges; but Facebook came to the pro-monument protestors rescue.

The protestors apparently barraged the bar’s Facebook page with negative reviews and the bar owner shut down the bar’s Facebook page on Sunday due to the negativity.

I agree that both sides should have the ability to express themselves vis a vis the removal of the monuments. However, no protestor should not have the right to damage a business’s reputation by creating negative posts. It’s nasty and it’s dirty pool. Here’s the problem with Facebook and social media: they are literally being used to intimidate people, patrons and viewers of the media. Its impact is incredible, be it for good or evil—depending on your POV. Social media is being used as a weapon of mass destruction.

Let me draw an analogy here: social media is being abused. It’s become a cannon that shoots or threatens to destroy others anonymously. And damage occurs on both sides, because—trust me—the real story can never be determined by reading Facebook or Twitter posts. It’s so sad that people buy whatever is shoved in their face by internet users, with no credibility, no research, limited perspective, and out of pure emotion.

This is why it’s important to have objectivity in reportage. This is why credible media journalistic reporting is so crucial to a viable democracy. As far as I’m concerned, everything on Facebook and Twitter is twisted and spun by their posters, who, as you should be aware, are only trying to influence the mob and have no credibility. Stop paying attention to this baloney!

Is social media actually killing free speech? When is the backlash going to come?

  • Sorry, will send privately.

  • SCBert

    I say thank goodness there was no violence that night and the nonsense went digital. As frustrating as it can be to look at, I’m not sure I see the same problem you do. You say, “It’s so sad that people buy whatever is shoved in their face by internet users, with no credibility, no research, limited perspective, and out of pure emotion.” But do they? I’d say that most people these days do know how much credibility an anonymous rant on social media deserves and more are getting savvy everyday. (If people were not smarter than that we should have given up on democracy long, long ago.) I think the people you fear are being “persuaded” were like-minded in the first place and oftentimes, trolling folks like you was the real motivation all along. I lost any inclination to go on Facebook quite a while ago for that and other reasons– and I only hesitantly brave a yelp review now and again with almost comical expectations.