The American Civil Liberties Union is once again demonstrating its committment to free speech by asking a judge to gag the Omaha World Herald. The Herald wants to publish the name of a man who sued Plattsmouth, Neb., over a Ten Commandments monument there. The ACLU, in turn, has suddenly got that old time prior restraint religion.
The ACLU claims that the man has received anonymous threats and publishing his name could subject him to further threats. But as Omaha World Herald executive editor Larry King notes,
King said The World-Herald is not at the point of publishing any article identifying the man. But if newspapers made publication decisions based on anonymous threats, King said, they would have to quit writing about “everyone from football coaches to politicians.”
“This is not a case in which an individual, through no fault or action of his own, found himself in the middle of a dispute,” King said. “This man is trying to force a city to make a controversial change it doesn’t want to make. If you want to change public policy, it should not be a surprise that you could be publicly identified.”
I guess the ACLU must still be stinging from its loss in its suit to protect the rights of teens to attend nudist camps without parental supervision.
ACLU requests restraint on press. Todd Cooper, Omaha World Herald, September 21, 2004.
Parental rule upheld for teen nudist camp. Associated Press, August 10, 2004.