The Blue Alaskan isn’t for everybody nor is it intended to be, just as other political websites attempt only to reach a certain subset of individuals.
Blogs Can be Subjective
Unlike news stories that are meant to give the facts only, blogs have the flexibility to include a personal slant or bias. You’ll likely see this if you follow blogs centered on hot-button topics like religion, politics, or lifestyle ideologies.
Bias (or subjectivity) is often talked about as though it is a bad thing, but many of the most popular media outlets, websites, and social networks are popular precisely because they are subjective. People are more inclined to believe, pay attention to, and syndicate things that reinforce their worldview, and are more likely to respond to ideas they sharply agree or disagree with.
The right to anonymity is a fundamental component of our right to free speech, and it applies every bit as much in the digital world as it does in the physical one. In the words of the U.S. Supreme Court in McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission, “Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority.” The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized that the right to speak anonymously derives from the First Amendment, and the importance of anonymous political speech in particular has rightly received special recognition.
The right to anonymous speech is also protected well beyond the printed page. In 2002 the Supreme Court struck down a law requiring proselytizers to register their true names with the Mayor’s office before going door-to-door, as just one such example.
Anonymity is extremely effective in promoting freedom of expression, argues Julf Helsingius who asserted that anonymity is beneficial because it gives people an outlet for their opinions, even controversial ones. There is a long-standing precedent for anonymity in publishing. The responsibility not to reveal sources is recognized almost universally. Many authors write under pen-names and there are still some cases where the true identity of authors has never been discovered. The Federalist Papers were published under a pseudonym and newspapers publish letters to the editor, help columns, and allow the letters to be anonymous or signed with a pseudonym.
TBA does not weaponize anonymity, as should be evident by pieces I’ve written which have been picked up by the mainstream media – not just Anchorage Press. We live in an online world where racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, conspiracy theory, and misogynistic social media groups do weaponize anonymity — and as we know, personal anonymous social media accounts permeate many of those groups and pages. Write about them, however, and you’ll find your inbox filled with anonymous hate mail. It’s a weird and ironic double standard.
Arguably, those who threaten to strip one of anonymity are not attempting to silence a voice that has no right to exist in that form, they are doing it to silence a voice that they don’t like, and that they don’t agree with.
After consulting with writers, journalists, and lawyers – I have decided that The Blue Alaskan will proceed in its current form with a continued focus and emphasis on politics, matters of equality, and public health. I should note that I am not in “competition” with other blogs or writers. The internet is big enough for everyone – even those we sharply disagree with.