Anonymous political speech has merit – you decide how much - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Anonymous political speech has merit – you decide how much

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Posted: Sunday, March 26, 2006 6:26 am | Updated: 2:04 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Anonymous political speech through the written word has a rich history dating back to The Federalist papers of the American Revolution.

Modern political thinkers don’t have to worry about an overseas government hanging them for what they have to say.

But sometimes they still want be unidentified to focus the public on the arguments being presented instead of who is making them.

Which brings us to the three “monkey business” advertisements commenting on the Scottsdale City Council elections that have appeared in the Tribune in recent weeks. Some readers have suggested the Tribune has failed as a watchdog because we haven’t been able to identify the ultimate source of funding for the ads that cost $10,000 each.

These concerns are misplaced. A Tribune story reported March 9 that Scottsdale political consultant Lamar Whitmer is paying for the ads from his firm’s bank account, and he has signed a traditional contract verifying the ads are factual and without libelous content.

Whitmer admits he’s the middle man for an anonymous client he refuses to identify. On March 10, news columnist and Editorial Board member Mark Scarp called for this client to voluntarily step forward instead of sinking to the level of three council members who refuse to identify which anonymous supporter was behind the legitimate ballot challenge to opponent Nan Nesvig.

As staunch champions of free speech, the Tribune believes we should support all forms of legitimate political commentary. Readers can use their own judgment in weighing the credibility of arguments from someone who wants to be known only through a political hired gun.

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