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As I See It

Sometimes speaking your mind comes with a price

Scott Robert Shaw

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Few liberties are as widely debated as our right to free speech. We see it on college campuses in Wisconsin, where they have tried to protect the rights of some to speak, while threatening sanctions for those who disrupt their speech. We see it on message boards and social media posts, where people often hide behind anonymity to hurl hateful comments. We also saw it last week with a social media post by the La Crosse County Administrator. Steve O’Malley went online to post hateful comments following the death of Rush Limbaugh. O’Malley suggested Rush spend eternity in hell, adding “good riddance.” O’Malley is defending his comments, or at least his right to make them, saying his comments were made not as the county administrator, but as an individual citizen, and that his views do not reflect the views of county government. That may be true, but it is not a good look. O’Malley told WIZM News “I guess I don’t have the right to my own opinion.” That is not true. He has every right to his opinion, as do all of us. But sharing those comments in a public form can come with a price. O’Malley is being condemned by his critics for his comments, and some suggest some sort of ethics investigation be conducted. O’Malley has a right to his opinions, but sometimes we should remember that valuable but often forgotten lesson that if we don’t have anything nice to say about someone, we shouldn’t say anything at all.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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