I thought we had seen it all from the Whidbey News Times but the latest actions by them are unbelievable.
Recently a citizen submitted a letter to the editor to the Whidbey News Times and the News Times published this letter both in the print edition and on their online website.
After the letter was published there were quite a few comments in the comments section at the end of this article. The author of the letter to the editor attempted to explain his letter and defend the ideas he made in his letter to the editor in the comments section when other commenters attacked him and his letter. He was called a “jerk”, a “wing nut”, told his letter was “Again-another twisting of the truth” and much more. When the author of this letter to the editor attempted to defend his letter and the ideas and concepts behind the letter his comments disappeared from the Whidbey News Times website. His comments are now only visible to him.
So here we have a local newspaper accepting for publication a letter to the editor publishing it in the print edition and online edition and then when the author of this letter attempts to defend his letter against comment made in the comments section the Whidbey News Times censors him.
This is a blatent attempt by the Whidbey News Times to censor this individuals comments and control the conversation. Instead of censoring the commenters that made insulting remarks and attacks on the author of this letter the Whidbey News Times censored the author of the letter to the editor. Now when you view the article all’s you see is dissenting opinions and attacks on the author.
If you review the Term of Use for the Whidbey News Times comments section you will see that the Terms that they use are quite clear. Here are their terms that relate to unacceptable behaviour:
“Without limitation, we reserve the right to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable to us in our sole discretion”
I would like to point out that the author of the letter to the editors comments are none of the above. While he may have been attempting to opine on an issue that is controversial in no way shape or form was the author using “unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent” language to do so. He was censored for the apparent reason that the Whidbey News Times did not agree with his comments so they deleted all of them. If that is the case why did they publish his letter to the editor in the first place?
I would strongly suggest that anyone who believes in what is right to send a letter to the owner of the Whidbey News Times, Sound Publishing, and let the owners know how our local newspaper treats the commenters in the comments section of our local newspaper. The Whidbey News Times wants to have it both ways in their comments section. While they claim in their Terms of Service “We encourage a free and open exchange of ideas in a climate of mutual respect.” the truth is that they will silence anyone they feel like in their comments section regardless of any published rules.
Here is the address to send your complaints to:
Sound Publishing, Inc. Corporate Office
19351 8th Avenue NE Suite 106 Poulsbo, WA 98370
Tel: (360) 394-5800
Fax: (360) 394-5829
Sound Publishing does have a web form for contacting them located here:
I would strongly suggest if you are submitting this online to also follow up with the written snail mailed letter to them.