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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

Topic: Free speech

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January 22, 2015 at 12:43 PM

Free speech: Pope was suggesting individual restraint, not state censorship

Leonard Pitts Jr. in his column “Pope needs a lesson in freedom” [Opinion, Jan. 18] criticized Pope Francis for his comments during the flight to Manila with respect to freedom of expression. Pitts quoted the Pope: “You cannot provoke” and “You cannot insult the faith of others.” Pitts then assumes, apparently without reading…


Comments | More in First Amendment | Topics: Charlie Hebdo, Free speech, Peter M. Anderson

January 16, 2015 at 4:52 PM

Charlie Hebdo attack: We cannot appease those who restrict speech

Frank Mitchell’s letter to the editor “We are learning the consequences of the excesses of free speech” [Northwest Voices, Jan. 12] suggests that the the victims at Charlie Hebdo were responsible for their own deaths because of “excesses of freedom of speech.” Beyond slander or yelling fire in a crowded theater, I was unaware…


Comments | More in Terrorism | Topics: Charlie Hebdo, Free speech, Islam

January 15, 2015 at 6:05 AM

Charlie Hebdo attack: Not an attack on free speech

Despite what some commentators seem to believe, the Western world does not have a “Muslim problem.” And, the Charlie Hebdo attack was not an attack on free speech [“French paper puts Muhammad on cover, provoking a new storm,” Nation & World, Jan. 13]. Muslims are offended when the Prophet Mohammed is insulted. That doesn’t…


Comments | More in First Amendment, Islam | Topics: Charlie Hebdo, Free speech, Joe Sullivan

January 14, 2015 at 11:56 AM

Charlie Hebdo cover cartoon: Should newspapers publish it?

The Seattle Times made a reasonable call in deciding not to print the cartoon in question [“French paper puts Muhammad on cover, provoking a new storm,” Nation & World, Jan. 13]. There is no point in offending anyone.

I would have made a different call and printed the cartoon, but that doesn’t make my choice any more reasonable than The Times’. Having to walk a fine line and make decisions like this are a burden of Editor Kathy Best’s position. I’m glad she expressed the thought that the story can be covered adequately without printing the cartoon, and that The Times avoided inserting the stock self-serving cliches about diversity. If, for whatever reason, the story could not have been adequately covered without the cartoon and The Times chose not to print it, then the newspaper would then lack integrity. Being offended is an unavoidable and unpleasant part of living, and ignoring the offender is part of being an adult.

I trust that in printing stories that involve other symbols that are equally offensive to certain groups — symbols such as confederate flags, swastikas and others, that The Times exercises the same consideration about adequately covering the story and the same measure of respect as it extends to those who would be offended by the cartoon in Charlie Hebdo.

James B. Paden, Blaine

Editor Kathy Best’s explanation why the Seattle Times did not print the new Charlie Hebdo cover cartoon relies upon the notion that


Comments | More in First Amendment, Islam | Topics: cartoons, Charlie Hebdo, Delton W. Young

January 12, 2015 at 9:29 AM

Charlie Hebdo attacks: We are learning the consequences of the excesses of free speech

We are again reminded that with the gift of freedom of speech comes the responsibility of self-censorship [“I am not Charlie Hebdo,” Opinion, Jan. 10].  The risks are real, and they are horrifying, but those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it. When we as members of a sane western society finally give…


Comments | More in First Amendment | Topics: Charlie Hebdo, Frank Mitchell, Free speech

April 13, 2014 at 9:05 AM

McCutcheon v. FEC: a lazy electorate?; Democracy sold to highest bidder

If the rich decide elections, it’s due to a lazy electorate

Syndicated columnist Gail Collins seems to feel that because the Supreme Court has allowed larger political donations, the rich now have more leverage in political elections [“Surprise! The rich won one,” Opinion, April 6].

Hey, are any of us forced to base our votes on TV ads, billboards and bumper stickers? Do the Koch Brothers (or any other billionaires) force us to vote for the candidates they support?

Or do all citizens have the opportunity, not to mention the responsibility, to inform themselves regarding all the candidates and issues?

If the rich determine the elections, based on their donations, it is due only to the laziness of the rest of the voting public.

Richard Askren, Seattle

Democracy sold to the highest bidder

There is just something so unseemly, wrong and even slimy about the Supreme Court’s rulings on


Comments | More in Campaign finance | Topics: advertising, Don Curtis, Free speech

April 11, 2014 at 11:58 AM

Mozilla: CEOs should think twice before donating to hot-button issues

The story “Mozilla CEO resignation raises free-speech issues” [Business / Technology, April 5] brings up interesting issues. “Mozilla co-founder Brendan Eich stepped down Thursday as chief executive, just days after his appointment. He left the nonprofit maker of the Firefox browser after furious attacks, largely on Twitter, over his $1,000 contribution to support of…


Comments | More in Gay rights | Topics: Brendan Eich, Firefox, Free speech

April 4, 2014 at 6:03 AM

McCutcheon v. FEC: Amend the Constitution

The Supreme Court’s most recent ruling on McCutcheon v. FEC should be the last straw for “We The People” [“Ruling loosens reins on political donations,” Nation & World, April 2]. The five majority judges seem out of touch with how democracy should really work — one person, one vote. It is time to amend the…


Comments | More in First Amendment | Topics: constitution, democracy, Free speech

April 3, 2014 at 3:51 PM

McCutcheon v. FEC: Democracy is now dead

Ruling loosens reins on political donations” [Nation & World, April 2] should have been titled “Ruling severs reins …” The U.S. Supreme Court has done the nation a great favor: finally removing any doubt that our democracy is dead. What a huge relief. No longer do the vast majority of Americans need to cling…


Comments | More in Campaign finance, U.S. Supreme Court | Topics: campaign finance, Free speech, McCutcheon v. FEC