What Would Thomas Jefferson Say about San Jose Inside?
Posted by Comments (18)on Tuesday, May 17, 2005
If you want to analyze how something modern fits within the grand sweep of American history, pose the question and use a Founding Father. If you want to suggest that democracy and freedom are at stake, use Thomas Jefferson. Even if it’s a pretentious effort, it’s an excellent way to rebut Larry Stone.
Many of our loyal readers, like Larry Stone (link, comment 17) and Bob Kieve, have criticized the negative anonymous comments that appear on our blog. We’ve debated the issue and decided that anonymity is an essential element of the blogosphere. So we allow it as long as it doesn’t violate our comment policy. (link)
But let me give the final word to Christopher Daly, a Boston University journalism professor, who wrote an interesting blog: “Are Bloggers Journalist? Let’s ask Thomas Jefferson.” (link)
Here’s an excerpt:
“Hundreds upon hundreds of pamphlets were printed in the colonies between 1760 and 1776, providing the intellectual setting for the debate over independence. Those writings—and their authors—played a role that was at least as important as established newspapers in giving expression to the growing political crisis.
“The pamphlets were crucial to the rebellion because they were cheap, because they presented provocative arguments, and because it was impossible for the royal authorities to find their authors and stop them. The authors of the pamphlets were not professional writers, nor were they printers. They were lawyers, farmers, ministers, merchants, or—in some cases—men whose true identities are still unknown. It was a well-established practice in colonial times for writers to use pen names, even when writing on non-controversial subjects.
“With the coming of conflict with England and the fear of reprisals by the authorities, most pamphleteers resorted to writing under a nom de plume such as Cato or Centinel—the “Wonkette” and “Instapundit” of the day.
“They would use a sympathetic printer’s press under cover of night, then sneak the pamphlets out for distribution. As a result, the pamphleteer had one great advantage over the printer: he could state the boldest claims against the Crown and not have to fear any penalties. The pamphleteers amounted to the nation’s first version of an underground press, a guerilla counterpart to the established newspapers.”
I mistakenly suggested above that Daly should get the final word. Since this is the blogosphere, you get it—anonymous or not.
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