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Should we restore a post alleging the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings were a hoax?

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Posted: Tuesday, July 8, 2014 5:55 pm

A few days back, we took down an online post alleging that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, Conn., were a hoax.

Was that the right call? We’d like your feedback.

The background:

Starting on June 27, commenter Andrew Liebich began a string of posts alleging the Sandy Hook shootings didn’t happen. On July 3, he posted that, “Sandy Hook was a hoax. Intelligent people investigate; morons castigate.”

Simon Birch, our internet services manager, who monitors the posts very carefully, removed the post and wrote a note stating that, “suggesting the murder of 20 children and 6 adults either didn’t happen or was some sort of conspiracy is disturbing, and any comments suggesting it was have been deleted and won’t be allowed in the future.”

That drew a strong online response, including a note from Jerome Kinderman, a frequent online commenter who has also written guest columns for us.

“Talk about the proverbial slippery slope! I find many comments made here along with articles, columns, opinions, letters, etc. published and printed in the News-Sentinel to be offensive,” Jerome wrote. “Yet I have never once complained about what the publishers permitted to be published and never have I asked that a comment be removed ... .”

Kinderman felt the Sandy Hook post was “compelling,” and did not in fact violate any of our stated rules for posting. Those rules are generally aimed at preventing personal and racial insults and keeping the posts on topic.

This is a challenging call. 

We want to encourage an open and inviting forum reflecting the ‘marketplace of ideas’ as touted by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. Yet we are a private media company. We have the right to decide what goes on the comments boards and what doesn’t.

Do we also have a responsibility to purge the boards of rumors, allegations and theories we know to be unsubstantiated? A responsibility, moreover, to set a tone of informed civility?

Simon and I have discussed this at length. We decided to seek the counsel of you, our readers.

Should we restore the post? Should we change our rules?

We’re eager to hear your thoughts.

Please leave a comment on this post. Or contact me at richardh@lodinews.com or Simon at projects@lodinews.com — or give either of us a call at 209-369-7035.

More about

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don’t pretend you’re someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don’t threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don’t insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the ‘Report’ link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.
  • 9 Don’t be a troll.
  • 10 Don’t reveal personal information about other commenters. You may reveal your own personal information, but we advise you not to do so.
  • 11 We reserve the right, at our discretion, to monitor, delete or choose not to post any comment. This may include removing or monitoring posts that we believe violate the spirit or letter of these rules, or that we otherwise determine at our discretion needs to be monitored, not posted, or deleted.

Welcome to the discussion.


  • Mike Adams posted at 9:40 am on Sun, Jul 20, 2014.

    Mike Adams Posts: 1492

    So cute....an email from andrew.

  • Mike Adams posted at 6:52 pm on Sat, Jul 19, 2014.

    Mike Adams Posts: 1492

    I'm at "lodisven31@gmail.com"

    Sometimes I don't get your email. Or I can't figure gmail out.
    [angry] I'll be like andrew [angry]
    Why don't you people listen!! You all have too much cognitive disonance!

  • Andrew Liebich posted at 7:10 pm on Fri, Jul 18, 2014.

    Andrew Liebich Posts: 2999

    Your failure to comprehend 17 U.S.C. § 107 has nothing to do with me.[rolleyes]

  • Andrew Liebich posted at 7:01 pm on Fri, Jul 18, 2014.

    Andrew Liebich Posts: 2999

    The deleted comment contained two video links that Mr. Barrow found "offensive."

    The comment “Sandy Hook was a hoax. Intelligent people investigate; morons castigate” was NEVER posted!


  • Mike Adams posted at 5:03 pm on Fri, Jul 18, 2014.

    Mike Adams Posts: 1492

    That's a gem, but typical of the andrew mind. The President (of the United States) borrows a "line" from a former president and uses it in a major speech. (and I'm sure all the people who were interested knew where that "line" came from) and that is equivalent to andrew's copying and pasting entire posts. Even an entire letter to the editor once (which he signed as though he had written the entire piece when in fact, not a single word was his, shy the salutation).

    If I was to write a letter to the editor or a post here and say "four score and seven years ago....", people will know where it came from and probably include the rest of the quote. Your rampant plagiarism is nothing like this (or that of the President).

    Just admit, you are a serial plagiarist of conspiracy based material and as such you neither give attribution or source. Quoting a section of the Government Code does not give you cover on this. Is this what you mean when you claim to have "over 25 years in journalism"? No journalism concern, print or broadcast, would allow you more than time stealing words without getting rid of you.

    So unless your 25 years involves reading magazines or delivering newspapers, it seems we have to include it in your curriculum vitae along with working for infowars under "made up".

    And to illustrate your lack of historical knowledge of any topic and your total reliance on other sources, you have made absolutely NO reference to Vice-president Joe Biden's plagiarism (which probably cost him the presidency in 1980).

    Now go educate yourself.

  • Andrew Liebich posted at 3:44 pm on Fri, Jul 18, 2014.

    Andrew Liebich Posts: 2999

    17 U.S.C. § 107 is 17 U.S.C. § 107. I think if you were sincerely interested in understanding it you would have already looked it up.

  • Thomas Heuer posted at 3:27 pm on Fri, Jul 18, 2014.

    nth degree wise Posts: 1653

    Mr Elliot
    You are absolutely correct.
    I have no idea what Andrew is talking about.

  • Andrew Liebich posted at 3:16 pm on Fri, Jul 18, 2014.

    Andrew Liebich Posts: 2999

    The deleted comment which resulted in Simon's response to Eric Barrow was not the comment to which you are referring Treacy Elliott.

    Simon? Mr. Barrow? Perhaps one of you could set the record straight for Treacy Eliott.

  • Christina Welch posted at 2:01 pm on Fri, Jul 18, 2014.

    Christina Welch Posts: 434

    [thumbup] to Ted yet again. I would love to elaborate beyond a mere emoticon, but I'm heading up to the mountains and my hubby is hollering at me to hurry. But defintely some very wise insights.

  • Treacy Elliott posted at 12:27 pm on Fri, Jul 18, 2014.

    Treacy Elliott Posts: 75

    Andrew, It appears you are mistaken. Here is the exact words Simon posted:

    "Eric: We're tolerant of a wide range of opinions in the comments. However, I agree that suggesting the murder of 20 children and 6 adults either didn't happen or was some sort of conspiracy is disturbing, and any comments suggesting it was have been deleted and won't be allowed in the future."

    Mr Barrow reported the post. The words "have been deleted" indicate that the were visible. Or is this just another conspiracy??

  • Eric Barrow posted at 11:17 am on Fri, Jul 18, 2014.

    Eric Barrow Posts: 1585

    Perhaps if you spoke more clearly instead of these spy vs spy one sentence hints at what you are getting at people would understand what you are trying to say but then you would have to make sense.

  • Thomas Heuer posted at 10:53 am on Fri, Jul 18, 2014.

    nth degree wise Posts: 1653

    Mr Lauchland
    A great post. (2:24pm Thur)

  • Andrew Liebich posted at 9:01 am on Fri, Jul 18, 2014.

    Andrew Liebich Posts: 2999

    Were you offended when President Obama plagiarized George W. Bush in his State of the Union speech?[lol]

    Educate yourself Mike...Read 17 U.S.C. § 107 [sleeping]

  • Andrew Liebich posted at 8:41 am on Fri, Jul 18, 2014.

    Andrew Liebich Posts: 2999

    Mr. Lauchland,
    After reading your comment I think it's important you know the facts. The LNS may have told you, "On July 3, he posted that, “Sandy Hook was a hoax. Intelligent people investigate; morons castigate” but that isn't entirely true. Yes, I did submit the comment, however, Simon Birch, the LNS's internet services manager, never actually posted the comment. How could I have, "began a string of posts" with a comment no LNS reader ever saw?

    I think if the people at the LNS had any integrity they would set the record straight rather than propagate propaganda.

  • Christina Welch posted at 8:52 pm on Thu, Jul 17, 2014.

    Christina Welch Posts: 434

    I so agree, Treacy, and thank you for your comments. I needed a reminder to keep looking at the comic relief side of this all. It can be easy to get sucked in sometimes, and I am one that usually prefers to stay on the sideline like you. Too much time on my hands this summer vacation, I guess. [smile]

  • Mike Adams posted at 6:11 pm on Thu, Jul 17, 2014.

    Mike Adams Posts: 1492

    Jerome: You are listening to way too much rush/hannity/fox....You're right not to be offended? That's been made up by conservatives forced to work with so little good news on their side. Only conservatives use that term.

    Referendum? If you want to start a referendum against andrew, go right ahead. I'll support you 100% I am confused why you would want to ban andrew, him being such a good friend and all.

    What are you smoking in that pipe?

    BTW...I thought you were through posting? Were you finished, but not really finished? Does it depend on your definition of "finished"?

  • Ted Lauchland posted at 2:24 pm on Thu, Jul 17, 2014.

    Ted Lauchland Posts: 261

    It falls under the "now stated" company policy unseen or uncontrolled by the general participant in this blog. The policy of to "not propagate propaganda", in my own terms, has to do with the liability end of the LNS. Whether it falls under "offensive" or not is really not the issue. The term "moron" always falls under that and it no doubt triggered Simon's response as he has dealt with that many times before. Integrity should be maintained at all times.

    Integrity of not only people but also the LNS . Whether you do it through deleting posts or the "insults" countered in some other way is of no importance. Teaching to be civil sometimes involves a whip and a chair. Mr. Heuer has the right idea though of if you have something valid to say you will find a way that falls within acceptance.

    Mr. Birch's possible only mistake was to offer an opinion in this blog that was to reflect the position of the company in a way that permitted an attack on a company policy. And these people will attack. Perhaps now that they know the reasons for the deletions they may get closer to a self - restrained conversation (We can dream can't we).
    The risk of allowing references to other sites is that those references may not be not be reliable sources of information or prove to be counter to the LNS own policies and impossible to completely research. It is why I do not attempt to say more than what comes out of my own mouth or to prove more than what my own experiences allow. My quotes are drawn mostly from my life - not that I could remember just who originally said them. I do not live on the internet.

    Analogies are funny. - I bought my kids each an alarm clock to enable them to get up on their own in the mornings so they would not miss the bus to school. They somehow still managed to blame us as parents in not getting them up in time. When they got an outside job (other than the farm) I reminded them that it was not going to be me that got fired for being late.

    I also learned (myself) to not park buses in front of homes for the Grape Bowl Classic. Aside from the legalities of "not blocking emergency vehicles" people in general do not like to be restrained without giving them the keys to the bus. - Wow ! -
    One of the reasons parking buses on the streets around Hutchins Street Square was not a good idea.

    Mr. Kinderman received a taste awhile back what it was like to write in front of the world and be subject to their opinion . I do not relish that idea for myself either. It is very easy to be offensive.

    Here is a "what if "- Give him Simon's job as the "blog foreman" for a day .

    Did you feel that earthquake? - Just wait till I suggest who will do it for the following day !

    Freedom of speech without responsibility is worthless. Ideas come forward only with focus and structure in mind - otherwise it just blows up in your face. You know - one of those illegal fireworks things.

    No - I do not want the job.

    Delete or don't delete - your choice Mr. Birch and Mr. Hanner.

  • Mike Adams posted at 11:40 am on Thu, Jul 17, 2014.

    Mike Adams Posts: 1492

    You should get off the "right not to be offended" crap. You're the only one saying that around here. Quit trying to project your inabilities here.

    Yes, andrew should be banned, although again, you are using the term "referendum", not I. Someone who has been 'in journalism 25 years' should know enough not to plagiarize. The Sac. Bee fired a sportswriter for reporting on a game he didn't actually attend but watched on tv. REAL journalists don't plagiarize. Identify something from andrew that wasn't taken from someone else.

    Listen to a little less conservative talk radio, you parrot way to much.

  • Thomas Heuer posted at 11:37 am on Thu, Jul 17, 2014.

    nth degree wise Posts: 1653

    MR Kinderman
    Your continuing argument which hasn't changed, seriously undermines your effort to raise this issue to a credible level. You know it is not about the rule of law or simple rules of conduct. Your whole issue is that, not a fellow reader/poster complained and the LNS sustained it, not that LNS staff didn't really follow some procedural rules you've all of a sudden come up with. No your position is plain and simple: a LIBERAL made the complaint and in your mind this is just part of a greater conspiracy where your world is shrinking due to LIBERAL encroachment. This is just your "Little Big Horn" where you face the onslaught and take your stand.

    Be aware that "LIBERALS" are people including some you know and they become invisible until you talk politics. They like all the same things all Americans do. Agree to disagree but don't demonize groups or individuals with a broad brush or presume their motivations. It has yet to be discovered a pure liberal or pure conservative.
    Can we cut the charade now and truly bring this issue to a close?

  • Eric Barrow posted at 10:27 am on Thu, Jul 17, 2014.

    Eric Barrow Posts: 1585

    One more thing, the best way to find out if you are being offensive is to ask. Harassment like discrimination is best judged by the offended not the offender.

  • Eric Barrow posted at 10:25 am on Thu, Jul 17, 2014.

    Eric Barrow Posts: 1585

    So your talk about rule of law was a front as I suspected like most conservatives they want rules applied but not to those things they support. That in a nutshell is why I'm a Liberal I simply can't abide hypocrisy. I do not agree with everything Liberals do but I respect peoples freedom to make those choices themselves. That is where we differ but like yourself I will carry on doing what I can to allow people the opportunity to live by their conscious not mine.

  • Treacy Elliott posted at 10:01 am on Thu, Jul 17, 2014.

    Treacy Elliott Posts: 75

    Jerome, I stand corrected on my comment that you were not offended by Andrew's post. I regularly read these comments, and find that both ends of the spectrum are mostly unwilling to "meet in the middle" failing to attempt to understand another point of view. I stand by my comments regarding Andrew. I have yet to see any other poster act in this manner.

  • Jerome Kinderman posted at 8:45 am on Thu, Jul 17, 2014.

    Jerome R Kinderman Posts: 2365

    No Mr. Heuer, they are "rules," not "general guidelines." The distinction is important, as I am certain you are aware.

  • Jerome Kinderman posted at 8:31 am on Thu, Jul 17, 2014.

    Jerome R Kinderman Posts: 2365

    Treacy Elliott - if you had followed the comments in direct response to this matter you'd learn that I never read Mr. Liebich's post; it had already been removed prior to my involvement. I will state however that whether or not it was offensive has nothing to do with any of this. The fact is, most of what I read posted by liberals/progressives I find to be quite offensive - often repulsive. Yet since I've stated my position too many times now practically to count, I'll leave it up to you to get up to speed; unless you're of the school that believes ignorance is bliss.

  • Jerome Kinderman posted at 8:02 am on Thu, Jul 17, 2014.

    Jerome R Kinderman Posts: 2365

    Amazing, absolutely AMAZING! Now this has turned into some sort of referendum to ban Mr. Liebich? Based on what, Mr. Adams? Your right to not be offended?!? But rest assured, my "folksy lectures" ain't going nowhere, y'all. Where did I put that corn-cob pipe of mine - dang darlin' I lost another one - grab one out of the hog pen for me, okay?

  • Simon Birch posted at 7:27 am on Thu, Jul 17, 2014.

    Simon Birch - Online Manager Posts: 169 Staff

    Mike: Please check your email. I had a question about your comment that didn't get posted.

  • Jerome Kinderman posted at 7:26 am on Thu, Jul 17, 2014.

    Jerome R Kinderman Posts: 2365

    Mr. Barrow - a similar notion was directed to me in response to the original LTE regarding this matter. I resisted responded because I felt as if I was suddenly on a grade school playground where no one understood anything about how our government works.

    My reference to the "Rule of Law" was to simply explain how things are supposed to work - even here on this little forum of the Lodi New-Sentinel's. Without rules (laws), we'd live in anarchy. The United States would be a terrible place to live. The Founder's understood that it would be We the People, through legislations and other bodies in states and local municipalities who would establish these rules - not single individuals who would rule by fiat with an iron fist or even a pen and a phone. And while the editors and owners of this newspaper have every right to rescind the privilege afforded to us on this forum, it would behoove them to remember that as a newspaper, they enjoy certain protections under the Constitution of the United States provided to no other business. So while Mr. Birch and Mr. Hanner might have the authority and right to remove any comment they choose for any reason, to do so when no apparent rule was broken smacks of censorship and must be avoided. As I explained early on, had they only been able to find Mr. Liebich's post in violation of just one of those eight rules, we wouldn't be having this controversy. But they missed that opportunity by a mile and are now scurrying to figure out how to toss out the bath water while hanging onto the baby.

    As far as your question about specific rules (or laws) regarding things I believe in deeply, why in the world would you think I'd stop trying to change any laws that I believe to be wrong? That's the other really "cool" thing about the United States. In spite of what I what I believe to be stupid rules or laws, I have as much right as you or anyone else to keep on trying to get it right - in my opinion, of course.

    As far as abortion is concerned, I find that that Roe v. Wade was the worst decision made by the Supreme Court in its entire existence. Well over 55 million unborn human beings massacred at the hands of abortionists all under the guise of a "woman's right to choose." And last year (the 50th anniversary) Roe v. Wade was actually celebrated. Talk about sickening and abhorrent. As a man who believes deeply in God, I am confident that one day we will all pay dearly for that one.

    I also believe according to my faith that marriage should be between one man and one woman. I don't care one whit if every state passes laws to legalize the practice, I will always believe any combination other than one man and one woman in a marriage to be morally and absolutely wrong. Not only am I permitted to harbor this opinion, but I'm also permitted to voice it without any governmental interference - at least for the time being, that is. That being said, this nonsense of "hate speech" might soon include someone who believes as I do about what constitutes a marriage. That if I continue to voice such an opinion I might soon be in violation of some hate speech statute. Well, to answer that one, please be advised that for as long as I breathe I'll continue to exercise a little civil disobedience whenever the spirit moves me to do so. The consequences will be mine to pay Mr. Barrow, not yours.

    Finally, I don't harass anyone, Mr. Barrow. When a subject comes up and I believe it to be appropriate, I'll continue to offer my two cents. If that bothers or "offends" you, then please be assured that I am fulfilling my purpose. For the life of me I can't understand how less than 3 percent of the population has been able to force their will upon the other 97 percent. But I suppose it has to do with this PC-based society of ours today. Frankly, I find it obnoxious. The bottom line sir, is if you don't like what I think and/or what I say, then why not just ignore me? Be assured there are quite a few contributors here that receive that precise kind of treatment from me - and it feels good to not engage in the kind of claptrap they lay at our feet. It's also fun to watch them scream and complain when I don't answer their questions, as if they have a right for a response from anyone.

  • Thomas Heuer posted at 1:19 am on Thu, Jul 17, 2014.

    nth degree wise Posts: 1653

    Almost any of the 8 rules can apply. Pick one.
    All rules are various OFFENSE CATEGORIES
    Think of them as general guidelines not legislated LAWS

    Please note where your question goes wrong

    POST REMOVAL is not a rule.it is a REMEDY
    Violation of a rule calls for a REMEDY to the offense
    There are various possible remedies to an offense
    Post removal, poster banning or any other option deemed necessary
    Deeming is the prerogative of the business owners not the patrons
    You are not an owner. You are a patron.
    Be a good guest. Try to be humble.
    You have no rights protected by municipal codes here
    You have no rights protected by any constitution here

  • robert maurer posted at 6:42 pm on Wed, Jul 16, 2014.

    mason day Posts: 450

    See that " report" button at the bottom of each post? On many forums, 3 complaints and a comment is deleted. Repeated behavior results in the offender's posting privileges being revoked and the offender banned from that particular forum temporarily or permanently, depending on the forum rules and the administrator.

  • Mike Adams posted at 5:56 pm on Wed, Jul 16, 2014.

    Mike Adams Posts: 1492

    I'm throwing a tantrum!!! One of my posts hasn't been put up.
    Please Mr. Kinderman, rush to my defense.
    andrew, I need 37 links, it doesn't matter what they refer to. Make 'em look like they come from a real place.

  • Treacy Elliott posted at 4:40 pm on Wed, Jul 16, 2014.

    Treacy Elliott Posts: 75

    I think it is pretty simple Andrew, the only people that were not offended by your post were you and Jerome. With that said, I think you should be able to post anything you want, no restrictions. Your demeanor is childish as you fail to accept any criticism for your actions. I enjoy reading your posts for comic relief.

  • Andrew Liebich posted at 1:59 pm on Wed, Jul 16, 2014.

    Andrew Liebich Posts: 2999

    Please direct me to the 'Rule of Conduct' which states a post may be removed simply because you found it to be "offensive"...[censored]

  • Eric Barrow posted at 1:22 pm on Wed, Jul 16, 2014.

    Eric Barrow Posts: 1585

    I have not commented on this topic and I am not now but it seems that you are expert on how this site functions and from recent a posting, by you, I have learned that it is OK to go off topic when replying. What did you call it a sub-thread I believe? Now that you have finally finished, I do have a question from this posting.
    You strongly contend that you "believe in the rule of law, gentlemen - not the personal opinions of men that can change at any time based upon anything other than the law.". Does that hold true for all laws even ones you strongly disagree with? If every state in the Union or at least this one eventually, as I'm sure they will, establishes a law that legalizes gay marriage will you then stop giving us your "personal opinion" about it? Also if you are so concerned with honoring rules why do you continue to harass anyone who believes that abortion is a rule of law and the choice belongs to the women? Do you believe that rules are there for a reason but you get to constantly complain and badger others living within the rules? I know it's off topic but you made the rules.

  • Thomas Heuer posted at 9:48 am on Wed, Jul 16, 2014.

    nth degree wise Posts: 1653

    MR Kinderman
    I have always known your point STOP
    Repeating doesn't add emphases or validity Stop
    I remain in disagreement STOP
    I rest my case STOP

  • Jerome Kinderman posted at 7:27 am on Wed, Jul 16, 2014.

    Jerome R Kinderman Posts: 2365

    To Mr. Adams and Mr. Heuer - perhaps we're finally coming around to precisely what my point is in all of this. My ONLY concern is what I stated not only over and over in response to the actual post by Mr. Liebich, but here as well.

    Whatever else is being complained about is not my concern. So once more and hopefully finally: my argument was, is and will always remain regarding Mr. Birch's removal of the post NOT due to any violation of the eight Rules of Conduct, but only because he agreed with another contributor that it was offensive. Had Mr. Birch cited any one of those eight rules, none of this would have concerned me. Why? Because I believe in the rule of law, gentlemen - not the personal opinions of men that can change at any time based upon anything other than the law. We have rules for a reason. Now I did offer Mr. Hanner my ideas regarding a possible solution. Whether or not he finds them acceptable only time will tell.

    But from here forward, I consider this matter closed as far as I am concerned. Thank you.

  • Thomas Heuer posted at 7:12 pm on Tue, Jul 15, 2014.

    nth degree wise Posts: 1653

    MR Kinderman
    The original conversation had to do with a complaint about another post and video by Mr Liebich that had no other value than pointless shock and titilation. You curiously use the phrase (on July 8 post at 9:02 am) you (LNS) "... have a sacred duty to fairness and impartiality." This was a real curious and some what naive kind of statement however you don't feel Mr Liebichs 25 years in journalism (a loose self-proclamation) has the same sacred obligation which he violated in his post?

    But that aside you say your main objection is that a post was deleted. Whenever has this bothered you before? Maybe there has been a change of rules I'm not aware of. The whole idea of censorship is to avoid offense (that turns people away). However you have attempted to refer to vulgarity euphemisticly as nothing more than a slight or minor offense. You say "I would have had absolutely no problem whatsoever with his decision to toss it out. But he only agreed with the "offensive" level of the content to reach his conclusion that it didn't belong."

    However you base this on a one time incident where Mr Birch posted "Eric: We're tolerant of a wide range of opinions in the comments. However, I agree that suggesting the murder of 20 children and 6 adults either didn't happen or was some sort of conspiracy is disturbing, and any comments suggesting it was have been deleted and won't be allowed in the future."

    How many times have we gotten this kind of feed back for a comment that was removed. Ms Bobin posted a comment to me and when I went to reply IT WAS GONE. Poof. No explanation, no rule violation notification, not even a "Comment Removed" banner. This is the usual experience of a comment removed. So again have rules changed I'm not aware of.

    Now Mr Birch gives a comment and some indication of what was offensive and you have decided it was not enough for you. You expect LNS now to abide by your rules. You have decided that offenseive postings are not an issue just that it be removed your way.

    Now I might concede to you that it might be "nice" if people were informed as to the reason why a post was removed for future edification and being egregiously offensive (not mildly offensive) is reason enought but you can throw a rule in there for good measure. Trying to define offensive is like someone referred to pornography, I can't define it but I know it when I see it. Citing a rule seems to serve only a single purpose of setting up the means of contesting the rules application to offensive posts. The nit pic would seem a waste of time unless you place more value on your words than others do. I am highly accepting of the news papers staff determining case by case what is accptable to them rather than you or me. Anytime I've been deleted I rewrite and try again.

  • Mike Adams posted at 5:42 pm on Tue, Jul 15, 2014.

    Mike Adams Posts: 1492

    "Rather, this has only to do with whether or not a post can be summarily removed simply because someone is "offended" by it, instead of it actually being cited by the authority to remove it as it being in violation of one of the eight "Rules of Conduct."

    I see Mr. Kinderman continues to use the new conservative verbal droning. Like all true conservative "sound bites", this was created by conservatives from no actual historical or contemporary event, and used almost entirely by conservatives to describe the emotions only they have on an issue hoping to project it on to those with a "liberal mindset" or what ever that is. The problem is, it's almost entirely conservatives who are saying it.

    Mr. Kinderman has in the past commented on whether or not some posts should be deleted and in fact has asked that some comments be deleted and some have. Now he wants to allow offensive, libelous, and disingenuous comments to remain as long as a "conservative" is making them.

    Can't have it both ways Jerome. Sorry.

  • Thomas Heuer posted at 12:40 pm on Tue, Jul 15, 2014.

    nth degree wise Posts: 1653

    Thank you Mr Birch
    But you confirm my suspicion that this is not a referendum on the merits of Mr Liebichs post but simply about censorship alone since more people are responding to the poll than who actually saw the post and videos.

    Your "...to gauge the reaction to the deletion of the Sandy Hook comments as we evaluate our comments policies and determine how to handle issues like this in the future." This again says the deletion alone is the sole basis of gauging what you will direct future policy development toward. Someone nefariously could get a number of people to vote or use different logins to effect the outcome of the vote. They don't have to be familiar with the post simply view this as a censorship inquiry (a predictable outcome) or as Mr Kinderman has accused else where that this is viewed as a partisan issue and the vote goes along partisan lines. This has never been a partisan issue. So again why are we going through the motions here. Are the LNS comments going Laissez Faire (no censorship as the vote indicates), censorship with full accounting by LNS staff or simply a revision of the "Rules of Conduct"? You guys can do whatever you want so I feel this is a very misleading exercise.

  • Jerome Kinderman posted at 10:59 am on Tue, Jul 15, 2014.

    Jerome R Kinderman Posts: 2365

    I believe the "merits" of this matter have little to do with the actual content of either Mr. Liebich's comments or the Youtube video he refers to.

    Rather, this has only to do with whether or not a post can be summarily removed simply because someone is "offended" by it, instead of it actually being cited by the authority to remove it as it being in violation of one of the eight "Rules of Conduct."

    Had Mr. Birch reviewed Mr. Liebich's comments as requested and found it to have violated one of those rules, I would have had absolutely no problem whatsoever with his decision to toss it out. But he only agreed with the "offensive" level of the content to reach his conclusion that it didn't belong. This haphazard approach to determining whether anyone's comments should be removed, if permitted to stand, should then be enough to simply do away with the Rules of Conduct.

  • Simon Birch posted at 7:36 am on Tue, Jul 15, 2014.

    Simon Birch - Online Manager Posts: 169 Staff

    The poll is simply an option for readers who have an opinion but don't want to write a comment or send us an email. We're just trying to use all the tools available to us to gauge the reaction to the deletion of the Sandy Hook comments as we evaluate our comments policies and determine how to handle issues like this in the future.

    Edited by staff.

  • Thomas Heuer posted at 1:27 am on Tue, Jul 15, 2014.

    nth degree wise Posts: 1653

    To Mr Hanner and Mr Birch
    As I started my comment earlier "let me ask why this poll is even being taken?" I fear that this is becoming a vote not on the merits of Mr Liebich's post but censorship in general. As the yeah or nay votes are cast to the left of this article the numbers seem to tally beyond the number of people that actually saw the post and the videos. This is unfortunate because few comments have been made to justify why this post should not have been deleted. This is a disservice to the subscription paying commentators here if decisions are made on the vote tally's alone. There needs to be some justification for what is to be allowed or not allowed in future online discussions.

    If censorship alone is the main concern and we are voting for full unfettered speech including the toleration of foul language, salacious and graphic obscenities then we don't have to look very far back to the experience of closed pages and blocked commenting to know what that can lead to? We also experienced heated discussions that included personally destructive and insulting remarks of fellow posters?

    So I just wonder where this poll is going. Are we also voting to have the LNS staff justify to posters and readers whatever actions they take in their own business related to comment management. This would seem to run counter to our principle of free market economy. I have been of the opinion that the LNS staff have the right to do what ever they decide to do in their business. Which is why this one instance of questioning whether a comment should be deleted or not is mysterious.

    Now as I said your free to do what ever you like, however in starting this exercise I'm sure more than just myself will be interested, which ever way it goes, to some rationale to your final decision.

  • Mike Adams posted at 11:39 am on Mon, Jul 14, 2014.

    Mike Adams Posts: 1492

    Why is no one answering 3 questions?
    1. Does the editor want this forum to become another infowars conspiracy theory board with the accompanying innuendo, half-truths, and outright lies that is found only in the world where people like andrew live in? I invite all of you to check out infowars. See for yourself. Check out the comments (apparently you have to register first...suckers didn't vet me enough)

    2. If you follow Mr. Kinderman's line of reasoning, nothing should be edited. Nothing should be witheld. Everyword of every post must be pasted to the board. See question #1

    3. When someone says they've been in "journalism" for 25 years, they mean "they've bought and looked at journalism products for 25 years. This is far different from "I've been a journalist for 25 years", where it is assumed, for sake of self preservation, all the material you write is original, or with attribution when short passages are lifted whole from another work. Has andrew ever written more than 6 consecutive words in a row that were neither plagiarized or some sort of insult?

    We are dealing with a virus here. One that if allowed in will destroy this whole operation. This is LNS second offering of this service. Remember how the first one ended. Sometimes the medicine is bitter, but we are dealing with a lethal germ here. We've already allowed it a foothold here. When a virus infects a host, it inserts its' genes into that host and those genes change the host into making more copies of the virus, with the eventual outcome being the death of the host and the infection of new, nearby hosts for the cycle to begin again. Is this what we want? Ban andrew now. Once and for all. If Mr. Kinderman chooses to follow him, let him go to. We can do without the folksy lectures.

  • Christina Welch posted at 5:50 pm on Sun, Jul 13, 2014.

    Christina Welch Posts: 434

    BRAVO, BRAVO, BRAVO, Thomas! Your discussion about offensiveness is absolutely right on. There definitely is a spectrum to it, and your analysis of that spectrum was spot-on. Your suggestion that with a complaint both the post and its links be reviewed seems much more reasonable (and a lot easier on Simon) than my idea.

  • Thomas Heuer posted at 7:37 pm on Sat, Jul 12, 2014.

    nth degree wise Posts: 1653

    To Mr Hanner and Mr Birch
    First let me ask why this poll is even being taken? The principal advocate for the return of Andrews post is Mr Kinderman who has repeatedly stated he didn't even see the video but is simply concerned about the deletion of the post without full accountability by LNS staff to him. He wishes to know by what right the post was deleted and what specific rules were violated.

    His chief concern is can a single person simply declare they are offended by a post, a topic or opposing ideology and it is then removed. I have tried to explain that in my years of experience here that has never been the case. I have had comments deleted and have been dumbstruck as to why. I would hope that a single person being overly sensitive wasn't simply able to object based on their different opinion. I believe Simon Birch to be fair and impartial and an intelligent reviewer and that would never be he case. But after all it is the prerogative of the LNS to do whatever they wish in their business and as another poster put it "our ability to post here is a privilege and not a right" (paraphrasing Mr Chang).

    I agree with Ms Welch "no one has the right to not be offended". However let me point out being offended has a spectrum that goes from mildly offended but in the general public it is commonly experienced and acceptable in general discussion. If I criticize the president someone could find that offensive but it is commonly accepted as freedom of speech. There are countries that might make that a hanging offense but not in America.

    Then there is the offense at gruesome details that may come with a graphic description of brutality from terrorists against our troops or civilians that have to be weighed as to whether it is necessary to share to make a case or is it simply salacious and comments alone are adequate without the gore. Foul language is also in this level where it has become more tolerated in or society but still not universally accepted. Most foul language is words spoken in anger so you have to determine how important are the words to the point of the conversation. Angry exchanges are not conducive to exchanging ideas but simply attack and retaliation at a personal level. Some words are worse than others so you have to either go case by case or not at all. Sexuality has a similar range from naughty to racey to much too explicit. Nudity is seldom acceptable and can be offensive by a large portion of the public despite what goes on on the beaches of France or streets of San Francisco. Now I don't have a problem with language or nudity but a lot of people do. I respect that and we should all respect that.

    At the top of offense is the is the truely salacious. That is descriptions, images, sounds that are repugnant, obviously presented intentionally (or maybe even unintentionally) strictly for shock value. Like the kid who brings the snake, mouse or insect in to show his mother either knowingly, or not, to scare her. This is usually aimed at sensitivities shared by large numbers in the population and not individuals that may have idiosyncratic phobias or sensitivities. Large amounts of blood, vomit, nasal discharge and other specimens usually are repulsive to many people and are usually not acceptable in gatherings. The audience for a dog or chicken fight is very limited and most of us will find it disgusting as well as offensive.

    Political correctness has often been used to describe peoples sensitivities and being overly sensitive. This is very misleading as it implies all offense can be attributed to over sensitivity and the cure is to simply buck-up or get over it. We can go from offended, OK you have to live with it to offended yeah that's pretty disturbing, indecent or potentially disturbing to many.

    So this is just a sampling of degrees of sensitivty to make sure we understand the word offensive. Simply being offended does not necessarily rise to levels where the 1st amendment can or should be restricted.

    Now about Mr Liebich who made the post in question. He has a tendency to post not his thoughts or comments but alarmist cryptic statements obtained from alarmist sources used to attract your attention which comes with a link to a YouTube video or website. Mostly off topic but because he doesn't post his own words necessarily (he's often been accused of plagerism) you don't recognized him being off topic till you follow his supplied links. His links either have nothing to do with the LTE (off topic) or are of questionable origin and seldom of any serious value. They often lead to conspiracy theory presentations which are only of interest to those who believe the government (or president) is responcible for or covering up 9/11, Kennedy assasinations, airline vapor trails (contrails) putting mind altering drugs on the country, Boston Marathon bombing and of course the Sandy Hook shootings which the post in question says was a hoax. Now most of these videos make accusations that are either not verified or are found not to be verifiable except only by the most dubious sources.

    Few events have shocked the country as 9/11 and the school shootings of children have done. The images of dead children or the very thought of killing a small child is horrifying. Mr Liebich presented a headline post that the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax and the children are still alive and they sang as a group at a super bowl. This was a post in the comment section on a letter to the editor about a gun ad in the paper. You are naturally curious and the grainy photos of the children before the shooting are compared to the super bowel picture and your warned that the children have aged since the original photos were taken so don't be surprised if you don't readily see the likeness. A narrator has to tell you what he sees as the comparison features. Then the insult to injury a second video says this hoax is government inspired and all the families were paid sums of money enough to pay off any mortgages which is illustrated by accounting records. Names are connected to houses and families and the conspiracy is made more devious because all the postings are made on December 25th or christmas and who works on christmas? A cover up is implied. However Mr Liebich apparently isnt familiar with accounting practices that may close their books on a year anticipating holidays from Dec 25 to Jan 2 and making adjusting entries planning to post the previous years balances in new accounting records. I'm not saying that was the case but that could be a rational explanation. Nothing is ever researched by him.

    To say this incident is a hoax could be ground breaking if it were true. But his contention is the main stream medias are all part of the cover ups. People effected by the shooting whether in Sandy Hook or around the country where people have reached out with observances or their dollars this says you are an idiot for believing the news. Mr Liebich is often refering to his readers with words like idiots or morons or similar, seemingly to make himself feel superior. The Sandy Hook Hoax post is not an isolated experience on these pages it is just one of many. Some are tamer than others some go over the top as this one did. To say Mr Liebich is regularly off topic is elusive since his posts say little and he relies on the links to do his talking for him. "Reporting" complaints would have a reviewer look at his post which is not usually the problem. The link often contains the offense. Ms Welch made a suggestion that someone review the links before they are posted to intercept potential out cries. I would not wish that on anyone and that would really get Mr Kindermans "Big Brother" "1984" concerns whipped up. I instead would say if a complaint is made that the post as well as the links be part of any review process.

    So to answer the question should this post be reinstated I would make a resounding no. It is not mere oversensitivity that makes the videos offensive it is the unsubstantiated premise that is damaging, hurtful and insulting that many will find of no socially redeeming value. It has no debat properties.

    Now, as an aside, I would add if Mr Liebich doesn't have an opinion to the topic of the LTE he can express that doesn't simply rely on a URL link to make it then he should wait to post until he does have his own opinion but that's just me. Links are usually useful to support an opinion not make the opinion.

  • Jien Kaur posted at 9:42 am on Sat, Jul 12, 2014.

    Jien Kaur Posts: 292

    Perhaps I not understand the Rules in this forum because I visit not frequent.

    I say though post should not be restored because the lady letter complained regarding an advertisement in paper for a gun store.

    How then does a matter of the Sandy incident have anything with gun ad? I think it "off topic" according to rules.

    But then the Mr. Kinderman explain to me that the Reply buttom is to create what he call "sub-threads" that he say can change topic to other things like in this situation that topics of same marriage and terrorism support by the Obama are allowed even if letter not that topic.

    I remain confused. Thank you.

  • Christina Welch posted at 11:01 pm on Fri, Jul 11, 2014.

    Christina Welch Posts: 434

    I agree with Mr Kinderman, as I'm sure we all do, that no one has the right to not be offended. But the Sandy Hook video was more than just offensive. I don't think I need to explain that; Mr. Heuer & Mr Adams already did an excellent job in supporting Simon's decision with their comments. However, I believe Mr Liebich did violate a rule with its posting, so I don't think it was a matter of censoring an offensive opinion. In rule 4, you tell us not to post unsubstantiated allegations, and that's exactly what that video was. The video wasn't an "opinion" it was defamation. Please do not re-post it.

    The only suggestion I could make is that someone actually looks at the article and video links provided by the various commenters before they are posted. If Simon had watched that video originally, he wouldn't have allowed it in the first place, and so Eric would not have needed to comment, and so on. I know that's a HUGE job, but it's all I can think of.

    As for the civility thing, yeah, good luck with that one [wink]


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