Anonymity has no place in an election
| Posted: Wednesday, Sep 18, 2013 06:00 am
Federal politician Vic Toews and U.S. Federal Reserve chair nominee Larry Summers have something in common. Both have been targets of venomous anonymous attacks.
Summers was anonymously attacked in a Huffington Post article Sept. 5, the attacker only labelled as a “former senior White House official” while Toews suffered a similar misfortune last year when an anonymous person used Twitter to reveal personal information about Toews' divorce during debate over new privacy legislation he had authored.
Anonymity really has no place in democracy, and certainly no place in an election race.
Democracy and voting are defined by personal responsibility. How can you defend democracy without being responsible yourself?
If anonymity is allowed, that means one or more people are, in effect, encouraged to say and do as they wish, with no consequences. There are no checks and balances on what they say or do because they cannot be held responsible.
Writers who feel strongly about what they’re saying should be willing to have their names on those comments. This editorial is the opinion of this newspaper and the executives responsible for that opinion are named in the masthead which appears on this page every edition. All Gazette opinion writers are clearly named in the bylines which accompany each column. In addition, information about the columnist often appears at the end of the column to further aid the reader in identifying the writer's professional interests or potential conflicts.
Candidates seeking office are all held to the same standard at this newspaper, clearly identified in all stories and advertisements. Unfortunately, some of their critics prefer to remain safely anonymous to the public at large.
A writer unwilling to associate his name with what he has written cannot possibly believe his opinion is very important. Why would he expect our readers to feel any differently?
The Gazette believes that targets of attacks and Gazette readers should be aware of who is making accusations, regardless of whether the attacks are valid or not. The more controversial the comments, the more accountability is demanded.
Any reasonable person, if under an attack on their competence and credibility, deserves to know who is criticizing them.