Tahlequah Daily Press

Editorials

March 8, 2013

Join in the conversation

TAHLEQUAH — As of this writing, the Daily Press has more than 5,700 “friends” on our Facebook page. And while social media are not the most effective means of gathering and disseminating news, they have become a valuable tool in our arsenal of platforms.

Many folks – even those who are online with other venues – remain leery of Facebook. Some say the postings and comments move too quickly for them, and that they’re not able to keep up. Others dislike the tendency of many posters to become angry and let their fingers do the talking, upsetting or offending their peers, and sometimes bordering dangerously on libel, defamation, or privacy invasion.

As we’ve explained to many readers, newspapers are held to a higher legal standards than generic bloggers or “social” walls not associated with an official media outlet. That’s why we must also hold our readers – or “friends” who post on our Facebook wall – to higher standards.

“Freedom of the press,” as we’ve pointed out many times, does not mean the freedom to say whatever we want, with impunity. The First Amendment clause was established to protect the media itself from being silenced by the government. And if we must be careful what we say in accordance with legal constraints, then we must also ask our online friends to do the same.

This is why sometimes we will delete a thread that contains inflammatory comments. Readers frequently private-message us to ask why we did that, and we’ll try to explain. We hope folks trust that, with the years of experience we have under our collective belts and the other expert resources at our disposal, we know what’s safe, and what’s not. We’re not trying to suppress opinions; we’re merely trying to protect ourselves and those who participate in our forum.

But make no mistake: Your opinions are important. We may not always agree with them, and you will not always agree with ours. But we want to hear what you and others have to say, as long as your comments are delivered in a civil tone, and with respect to the newspaper and others following our wall.

With that in mind, we’ve begun a series of forums on our wall. Every weekend, we hope to ask a question relevant to current events, and we’ll be seeking input from you, our readers. Sometimes we may use the comments in a story for our print and e-editions; other times, we’ll just be trying to stimulate a conversation.

We have a number of well-informed, articulate and engaged folks among our Facebook “friends.” Several have already contributed significantly to issues we’ve discussed there. Only a few have crossed the civility line, forcing us to delete a thread before it got out of hand. Even more impressive is the fact that, during the time the Press has been on Facebook, we’ve only had to ban about a dozen people from our site for refusal to respect our policies.

If you’re not already on Facebook and would like to jump into the conversation, join up at www.facebook.com, and then click “like” on our page; it’s at www.facebook.com/tdpress. We update our page six or seven times a day, letting you know what we’ve planned for the next day’s editions; posting links to unusual or important national stories; putting up briefs of community events at the request of readers; and asking you questions through polls or ongoing conversations with other friends.

While we will remove comments that accuse people of crimes without absolute proof, or invade their privacy, we welcome your viewpoints and your criticisms of government policies, community happenings, elected officials, and more. We will also post events of a nonprofit nature for you, but you must send us a private message with your request; we ask that you not attach it to an unrelated post, but rather stay on topic. We also ask that you do not post under the “recommendations” panel. Many people can read only parts of these, and we remove them as soon as we see them, because we feel we have a right to check what you post before it’s made public. Again, this goes along with that higher legal standard we mentioned earlier.

So, we invite you to find some spare time to get involved in the conversation: during work or lunch breaks, on weekends, during the evening. You’re sure to find something that interests you.

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Editorials
  • As education, good jobs falter, violent crime rate will go up

    As April winds down, and with it Child Abuse Prevention Month, it’s worth again noting that the rate of violence in Oklahoma has been creeping up in recent years. And it’s time for our state’s top leaders – who wear blinders when it comes to anything negative – to discuss what we’re going to do about it.
    Late last year, the FBI listed Oklahoma as the 10th most dangerous state in the union, based on statistics from 2012. Violent crimes are rape, murder, robbery and aggravated assault. Some Okies might find it a bit disconcerting to learn that our state ranked above California and New York in this data. Topping the list was Tennessee, followed by Nevada, Alaska, New Mexico, South Carolina, Delaware, Louisiana, Florida and Maryland.

    April 23, 2014

  • Ban on wage hikes by municipalities a mark of hypocrisy

    The words “God” and “governor” may share the same first two letters, but the two are hardly interchangeable.
    But let’s assume Gov. Mary Fallin really isn’t deluded enough to place her powers on the level of a deity. What rationale would a woman who has championed smaller government and local control use to explain her hypocrisy in banning individual Oklahoma cities from raising minimum wages in their jurisdictions?

    April 18, 2014

  • Community cleanups a good way to ensure our collective success

    This is our community – and it’s no better than what we make it. Let’s make it look great.

    April 16, 2014

  • Attack at school in Pennsylvania: Mental illness root of problem

    Washington’s crusade against guns was dealt a severe blow on Wednesday. No, it wasn’t the Supreme Court curtailment of the Second Amendment right of all Americans to own firearms. It wasn’t an executive order handed down by the administration. It was the brutal assault by a high school student in Pennsylvania against his fellow students – with a knife.

    April 14, 2014

  • People with faulty zippers should be booted from office

    We may forgive, but we shouldn’t forget, because there’s serious work to do in Washington. That work will never be accomplished as long as flawed zippers - literally or figurately – are a pervasive problem.

    April 11, 2014

  • Do your part to fight animal and child abuse

    It’s hard to change the habits of an abuser, especially when mitigating factors – such as alcohol or drugs – are involved. And these patterns tend to repeat themselves in successive generations. But all of us can take one small step to help eradicate this epidemic, and that is to report it when we see it.

    April 9, 2014

  • NSA head lies to Congress, and seems to get away with it

    Is there an obvious pattern of criminality within these governmental agencies? If so, why isn’t the Judicial Department investigating?

    April 7, 2014

  • Pass for rich kiddie rapist proves that justice isn’t blind

    Someone in Wilmington, Del., needs to keep an eye on Superior Court Judge Jan Jurden for the next few months, because she might improve her standard of living due to a sudden influx of cash.
    There’s no other way to explain why Jurden would have sentenced an ultra-wealthy heir to the du Pont fortune to probation for raping his 3-year-old daughter. It’s an outrageous miscarriage of justice that once again proves when it comes to the U.S. justice system, the elite get a pass almost every time.

    April 4, 2014

  • Maybe it’s not $3.2B, but state should still account for tribal cash

    In an editorial published last week, the Daily Press said that through tribal compacts, the state of Oklahoma received about $3.2 billion in annual revenue, partly attributable to the 117 casinos (or 118, in some reports) run by 33 tribes in the state. The information we accessed for that piece was confusing, and had a typo or two, which may have led us to overstate – to a considerable degree – how much money the tribes actually give the state.

    April 2, 2014

  • Tribal compacts should mean state has money to perform its functions

    Oklahoma should be rolling in the dough. The statistics bear that out. Thirty-three American Indian tribes operate 117 casinos in this state. Thanks to “compacts,” these tribes have been sharing the wealth with the state of Oklahoma. And thanks to the casinos, that wealth is substantial.

    March 28, 2014

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