March 07, 2002
Editorial judgment

Virginia Postrel, who seriously needs to start using permalinks (it's The Future, dammit!), makes a good point about what is and isn't censorship:

NOT CENSORSHIP: Andrew Sullivan and others are making much of this Telegraph report that left-wing British publications are rejecting articles that support the war on terrorism.

The Telegraph calls this "censorship." I'd call it "editorial judgment." That judgment may be stupid. It may support bad policy. But it's no different from The New Republic's party line on Bush's economic policy (bad, bad, bad) or The Weekly Standard's line on biotechnology (end of humanity). I don't remember a lot of articles opposing gay marriage when Andrew was editing TNR. Was that "suppression of dissent"? Or was it an editor doing what he was supposed to do, and making judgments he felt strongly about?

Keep this in mind when you hear someone call the NYT and WaPo's decision to remove Ted Rall's infamous comic from their pages "censorship". Ted Rall has the right to say or draw what he wants. He has no right to expect that the Times will pay for it and print it in their papers or on their servers, any more than I have a right to expect that whatever cranky letters to the Editor I write will be printed. Ted Rall has his own domain, where you can view his work in its intended form. No one is silencing him. Anyone who cries "censorship" is as bad as David Horowitz and his cross-country media tour to bitch about college newspapers not printing his anti-reparations ad.

You have the right to speak your mind. You do not have the right to force a private entity to provide the forum.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 07, 2002 to Legal matters