Dear Editor,

Though I've never been shy about voicing my opinions, I can understand why someone might be. Which is why I must take exception to your opinion piece of June 21 regarding the 'Website Woes' of an internet website in Slatington.

I know nothing about this website, only what I've read in your piece and the details of that issue are not my subject.

My issue is with several comments you made within the piece, beginning with your concern over the site developer refusing to reveal their sources.

I do not understand how you as a newspaper man can view anonymous sources as a threat, when our nation's independence was largely provoked through the actions of just such anonymous pamphleteering, the 'websites' of the day.

In fact, along with a Constitutional Freedom of Speech comes also some concept of a right to personal privacy. You may question any site's accuracy even if you know the source, and any good reporter would double check facts through outside sources as best they could. Why should anyone feel that to question an official or person of power (elected or otherwise) requires them to put their name on such criticism?

You can certainly be an anonymous watchdog, in fact most are until they are ready to blow the whistle. To investigate often requires a degree of anonymity, especially if you are trying to catch an elected person doing something corrupt.

I fail to see why anyone should have to run for an elected office before they can criticize someone holding one. That's like having to be a chef before complaining your chicken is raw!

Throwing mud without substantiation is wrong, of course. But questioning those in authority is thoroughly American, and while you might call criticism while remaining anonymous an act of cowardice I submit that boldness in the face of great power is stupidity. If you see a crime, you may certainly report it anonymously. Police forces around the world encourage you to report a suspected crime even if you do it anonymously, but you seem to imply that unless you are willing to stand up and shout what you think you saw you're better off hiding in the cellar while the neighbor's house gets robbed.

Bullying on-line is certainly a big problem, but it is also only moderately effective and so a little perspective is required. Stick and stones do not come through the DSL cable, and mere words won't hurt you. Unless of course you believe absolutely everything you read without question. But to suggest that you must be public to criticize or question is not only wrong (in my opinion) it's downright un-American.

Mike Stanley

Proprietor – Royal Jam Music USA

PS – I was tempted to submit this anonymously, but no one is really anonymous on the web, as anyone with a computer knows quite well. Further, I'm not excited about having you think me a coward!