11-29-2011, 11:24 AM
- Join Date
- May 2008
- Northern Virginia
As of this morning, Brownback's apologized to the teenager, saying his staff "overreacted"."Today, [the American voter] chooses his rulers as he buys bootleg whiskey, never knowing precisely what he is getting, only certain that it is not what it pretends to be." - H.L. Mencken
Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.
- Join Date
- Jun 2005
- Woodland Park, Colorado, United States
C. S. Lewis
Do not ever say that the desire to "do good" by force is a good motive. Neither power-lust nor stupidity are good motives. (Are you listening Barry)?:mad:
11-29-2011, 01:46 PM
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
Even if we include the Incorporation Doctrine, which holds that the Bill of Rights in equally binding on state governments, there is no violation, as the State of Kansas did not act to abridge the rights of the tweeter. They took no criminal or civil action, but simply reported her comments to the organization that brought her to the Governor's office. If a student had come to my office as part of a Junior ROTC event and behaved ths same way, and it was brought to my attention, I'd have informed her school and stated that unless she apologized, she would not be welcome at future events at my office. Expecting someone to take responsibility for their speech does not abridge their right to speak.
11-29-2011, 11:09 PM
- Join Date
- Jun 2008
The Brownback case created in many Americans:
1. the perception that the young woman was being punished by a government official for political speech, and
2. the perception that the government official's staff went to extraordinarily lengths to both find and punish a form of speech that the young woman intended to be private.
I agree with you that the punishment was not all that horrendous; she was basically asked to write an apology. And if the young woman had done something egregious (like lobbing a personal insult to his face), or had posted such an insult under her own name on the DUmp (or similar message board), then you and I would be on the same exact page. Even if she had been merely sulky or rude to the Governor's face, laughed with her friends when his toupee fell off, talked during his speech, or simply rolled her eyes at him, we'd still be on the same page.
The problem was that the young woman did none of these things. In fact, she did nothing to his face at all. She posted a private comment for a small group of friends, one that she never dreamed would be hunted down and used against her.
And here is where you and I disagree.
Your opinion is that posting on Twitter for a small group of friends is the equivalent of being rude to the governor's face. My opinion is that the younger generation uses Twitter and other social media as private space and that this is NOT the equivalent of taking someone on publicly, even if you are tweeting in the same room as the Governor.
The young woman was doing the 21st century internet equivalent of talking to her friends in a booth at McDonald's, i.e., a private gathering. The Twitter comment was not meant to be publicly rude in real time to the Governor; it was meant to blow off some steam with friends in a private space that did not include the Governor at all. Her intent, therefore, was not to be public but private. (And how many of us have said things in private about politicians? ) In other words, she may not be the rude little girl you think she is, which is part of what is making you very angry at her. Most people are raised to be polite in public but we let our hair down in private. Understand that she really thought she was making a private comment to her friends. Under ordinary circumstances, comments to our friends about a politician never get back to him or her.
In order to read the comments, the Governor's staff had to do a search and track them down. Once the comments were tracked, the staff also had to make a judgment call as to their relative importance. The young woman's Twitter group was pitifully small. Yet the staff made the call that somehow this immature comment to a very small group of high school students was somehow injurious to the Governor. Then they had to decide to act, and what they did was to go to the school and have the principal force an apology out of her, complete with "talking points." This whole scenario caused the perception of Brownback's staff as being over-zealous and threatening.
You may disagree ENTIRELY with this perception, but this was the overwhelming perception, especially among young people and users of social media.
The perception was hugely important in Brownback's response. That is why I said it was a good PR move for Brownback. PR is all about handling perception, and the response was absolutely correct: Brownback was perceived to be punishing political speech so he reaffirmed his support of the First Amendment. Brownback's staff was seen as being overzealous (even "fascist" by some), so Brownback apologized for overstepping. The case, which could have filled much air time in the 24-hour cable news orgy, is now past and will be all but forgotten in a few days. Very smart PR.
The introduction of Twitter to the case doesn't change what happened, it simply means that it played out more publicly than it would have otherwise.
I imagine that government officials and CEOs of corporations might have even better access to information on the internet, even to ostensibly "private" info on social media. A security clearance might give you much more access than the average person. And of course, intelligence agencies regularly troll Facebook and Twitter.
In other words, she needs to learn discretion.
The internet has made all space PUBLIC space. That is what this young lady has to learn. Save private comments for in person interactions.
My job as a parent, and the school's job in loco parentis, is to teach kids to be better than the lowest common denominator on TV. The function of things like a program that allows students to interact with politicians is not to bring those kids down to the level of MSNBC, but to get them to see beyond the shallow sound bytes and learn the substance of governing.
And what their schools teach them. In this case, the school was going to teach her not to insult people who extend favors to her and her organization, but the media outcry has instead taught her that she can get away with anything if she can get someone in the media to throw a tantrum on her behalf. This was a teachable moment, and the wrong lesson was taught.
The real lesson for this girl (and the rest of us) is that the internet is NEVER private. Every comment you make must be written for public consumption as if you are stating in on the village green.
And Twitter? I wonder if the girl knows that the National Archives is saving EVERY Twitter post ever made?
So it's public and permanent.
That's the lesson.
11-30-2011, 03:54 PM
The young woman was doing the 21st century internet equivalent of talking to her friends in a booth at McDonald's, i.e., a private gathering. The Twitter comment was not meant to be publicly rude in real time to the Governor; it was meant to blow off some steam with friends in a private space that did not include the Governor at all. Her intent, therefore, was not to be public but private. (And how many of us have said things in private about politicians? ) In other words, she may not be the rude little girl you think she is, which is part of what is making you very angry at her. Most people are raised to be polite in public but we let our hair down in private. Understand that she really thought she was making a private comment to her friends. Under ordinary circumstances, comments to our friends about a politician never get back to him or her.[/QUOTE]
11-30-2011, 04:34 PMIt's certainly one of them, but the others, civility, politeness and respect are far more critical. People who treat others well in private don't need to worry about their public personas being tarnished by their private behavior.
- Join Date
- May 2008
To me this is all about being rude (not free speech). While it is a broad brush all you have to do is go to DU to see that the far left is quite OK with rudeness as long as it is towards a conservative. Then it is a "smack down", and billed as "the truth" and "free speech".
When the liberals and the media got involved and labeled it "free speech" they affirmed to this girl that rudeness is OK as long as it is towards someone you don't like. They also affirmed that it is OK to act in such a manner that your school/employer/etc is shown in a negative light. These are not mainstream values/beliefs and instead of learning a lesson that will be a benefit to her in the future she has learned that rudeness pays. They do her a grave disservice.
11-30-2011, 05:47 PM
- Join Date
- May 2008
Wouldn't the reporting of the girl to her school also constitute free speech?
11-30-2011, 08:09 PM
- Join Date
- Jun 2008
True, she didn't do it to his face, she thought that she was doing it behind his back, but if she had made the comment on the bus, without benefit of social media, and it got back to the staffers, the reaction would have been the same. Badmouthing someone who has been gracious enough to spend time with your organization is rude and inappropriate.
No, it's the equivalent of talking about him rudely behind his back, but loudly enough that someone overheard it who felt some loyalty to the governor and reacted.
It was also a dishonest comment, because she didn't actually do what she claimed to have done.
From what I've seen, the search was a broad keyword search with the governor's name, and when it came up, the staffer read it and was confronted with a situation in which a student was claiming that she had made a rude comment to the governor in person, and tracked it down.
Then we need to do a better job of educating them.
Part of the reason for the perception is that it was presented that way in the media, without rebuttal. As others have said, if it had been Obama on the receiving end of it, the media would have told us in great detail about how rude the kid was, not to mention how important it is to guard what you say on social media.
Brownback's credibility suffered here. An assessment of the post indicated that, while rude, stupid, and untruthful, it did not rise to the level of something that deserved the governor's attention. This was no death threat, nor was it a true threat to his reputation. Sixty Twitter followers, all high school students? No. By demanding an apology, Brownback called attention to the post and, more importantly, called attention to the fact that his staff had tracked down a private post not meant for him or for the general public. That is what scared the crap out of the public. But people have to remember: NOTHING IS PRIVATE ON THE NET.
Civilizing kids is always an uphill battle, but if we don't want to see our civilization go downhill, it must be done.
It's certainly one of them, but the others, civility, politeness and respect are far more critical. People who treat others well in private don't need to worry about their public personas being tarnished by their private behavior.
Last edited by Elspeth; 11-30-2011 at 08:16 PM.
11-30-2011, 08:54 PM
- Join Date
- Jun 2008
The girl is completely unimportant here. What is important is that a politician's staff was able and willing to track down a private posting of a political nature on the internet and demand an apology for it. The First Amendment protects political speech, but that doesn't mean that politicians, governments and intelligence agencies aren't tracking down all kinds of political comments (and other information) on the net. It shocked many internet users that these postings were not as private as they thought, and that government officials were tracking them down.
Most people (including the girl in the story) do not realize how easy it is to track down such postings. Just because you can limit your Twitter feed to a handful of personal friends does not mean that no one else can find comments you made on your Twitter feed through a Google search.
In order to understand where I am coming from here, you have to put aside your knee-jerk feelings about this girl and your desire to bend her over your knee and smack the crap out of her. You can feel that way, but put it aside.
My contention was--and is--that Brownback's retreat and apology was good PR, not because of the girl (put her aside) but because many internet users were alarmed by the actions of his staff and by the staggering lack of privacy on the net (which, of course, has nothing to do with the Governor, but with which he was now tainted.) Much of this alarm is due to the fact that internet users have a false sense of privacy on the net. Young people, in particular, have been brought up on the internet and do not realize how heavily and completely it is monitored by many different interests. These kids have a false sense of safety on the net and post much of what they think, feel and do. They post personal comments, photos, vacation plans, etc. under their own names, especially on Facebook and Twitter, which have "privacy" settings limiting who sees the Facebook page or Twitter thread. However, Facebook and Twitter postings will show up in a general search (like Google) and privacy settings can be overridden by law enforcement and people with security clearances (including high level politicians). THERE IS NO PRIVACY.
Brownback was smart to apologize and reaffirm the First Amendment. It made the story go away and it got the panicked masses calmed again, so that they continue to provide lots of information to corporations and intelligence agencies every time they post. :) And if you had a tinfoil hat smilie, I'd put it right next to the sentence in which I opine that perhaps complete transparency, total information awareness of every person on the planet is what the internet is ultimately about, and that Brownback let the cat out of the bag with his little demand for an apology from a rude student.
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