Letter writer: Mountain Xpress website suppresses free speech

Graphic by Lori Deaton

I realize that most of the Mountain Xpress readers are oblivious to the amount of censorship that occurs on the Mountain Xpress website affecting commenters of the opinion letters. Just a few years ago, Mountain Xpress had about the liveliest community forums in Asheville, but clearly too much sensible, nonprogressive commenting caused its demise, replaced by the online ability to comment on each letter. After years of aggravation and humiliation by this evil practice, it is time for them to be exposed.

Recently, after submitting several comments that were either unaccepted or removed, I’d had enough …

Why do liberal progressives always seek to stifle and suppress freedom of speech? … (As an aside, anyone running for public office in Asheville should have to write an essay on this!)

Mountain Xpress used to be a thriving “newspaper,” but it is clear to see why their popularity continues to decline, with one reason being the suppression of free speech. Such censorship also occurs over at Ashvegas as well. Reading Mountain Xpress and Ashvegas, and not being allowed to offer one’s opinion without being censored, reeks of evil impropriety and disrespect! I used to be a regular advertiser in this publication, but never again.

I hope that this letter will inform the readership that this is not a publication favorable to freedom of speech, and for that they should be ashamed.

— F. Caudle
Asheville

Editor’s note: Mr. Caudle: We are not aware or have record of removing the comment you refer to. Please note, however, that Xpress does at times take down or block comments that violate our terms as published on mountainx.com. Among the things we don’t allow are: hate speech, libelous, obscene or offensive material. In addition, MountainX.com reserves the right to remove any user-generated content for any reason. This includes, but is not limited to, postings of libelous, defamatory or personally hostile nature. Users who post messages of this nature are subject to having their accounts suspended or terminated without notice. Further, repeated efforts to violate our policies are likely to result being banned from commenting on mountainx.com.

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5 thoughts on “Letter writer: Mountain Xpress website suppresses free speech

  1. Mr. Caudle, Since you are unwilling to provide the e-mail address you posted your comments under how do you expect us to find them or figure out where they are? We use a commercial spam filter service (Akismet) to catch the tens of thousands of spam comments we receive on a monthly basis. Even though it is 99.9% accurate there are sometimes false positives (0.001 x 10,000 = 10). I have already personally invested an hour of my time looking for your comments using your last name. If you provide an email address I might actually be able to help you. If that’s what you want?

    Thanks,
    Kyle
    Webmaster

  2. Dionysis

    “too much sensible, nonprogressive commenting caused its demise” Ha ha. Kind of an oxymoron here.

    “Why do liberal progressives always seek to stifle and suppress freedom of speech?” Why is this often claimed by right-wingers but never with an example or two?

    As for the notion that someone’s letters are not printed due to ‘censorship’, the letter writer is apparently unaware that Constitutional freedoms, including fee speech, are protected from government prior censorship. Anyone taking a basic class in civics knows this. Even if letters were censored (although no examples were provided), the Bill of Rights do not apply to a non-governmental entity. It’s surprising so few seem to even know this basic fact, including the letter writer.

    • Jim

      True. But that same logic applies to private businesses who are regulated to comply with smoking bans even though they are un-Constitutional. The government can ban smoking on their property but not enforce that on private businesses where they have overreached. They have no authority to tell those businesses what to do and the laws pertaining to these bans are in all reality illegal.

  3. Anna

    I read F. Caudle’s letter last week in the print edition with great interest. You see I submitted a letter with useful feedback in August 2013 and part of it was omitted, which I found surprising.
    http://mountainx.com/opinion/letters/082813the-american-dream-demands-independent-thought/

    Could it be that the paragraph removed might have stung a little to some readers? Maybe. It wasn’t my intent but, it could be a good thing if it did. Because NEW ideas and information are what move us forward not a constant preaching to the choir. There was nothing of a derogatory nature, rather, in that paragraph I addressed the fact that authentic discussion is rare in Southern culture and that I believed the missed opportunities of learning from other people is an important part of what holds back economic prospects of many in this region.

    The fact that it was removed clearly appears to verify the unwillingness for open discussion. I was the only letter writer regarding that article and have seen MUCH longer and rambling letters printed so it wasn’t a question of space. The only reasonable deduction is that it was censored.

    Lastly, this does seem to be a sensitive topic at MountainX given the Editor’s reply. Which seemed very defensive and quite presumptive that F. Caudle had made inappropriate comments. Yet you don’t seem to know what his allegedly omitted statements were. It reminds me of the famous Shakespeare quote, “He doth protest too much.”

  4. Nathan Jones

    The reply by the webmaster, “Kyle”, reaked so much of being defensive that it actually makes Mountain Xpress “look” guilty. I am relly surprise at how, for communicators, you folks at Xpress fall back on classic, lawyer-approved-and-edited-sounding “legal speak.” Aren’t there some real communicatiin majors and communication professionals inside Xpress who can help shape Xpress’ response and solutions to the issue at hand?

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