Jack Coughlin, a member of the Suffolk County Conservative Party executive committee, criticizes Twitter for limiting President Donald Trump’s right of free speech [“Trump is right about Twitter limits,” Letters, June 9]. It seems that either he or I missed the point. As I understand it, Twitter has decided to post “fact checks” as addenda to Trump’s tweets. There is no conflicting opinion in this action. It is all about holding Trump responsible when he tweets lies to the American public, a practice he seems to follow with great frequency.
In the letter “Trump is right about Twitter limits,” the writer described how he admirably taught NYPD recruits that freedom of speech is not “unfettered,” such as creating a panic by falsely shouting “Fire!” in a crowded movie theater. He cautioned them against such irresponsible behavior but now seems to have a blind spot to the tweets by President Donald Trump that he defends what are essentially the behavior he warned the recruits against. According to The Washington Post, as of May 28, Trump had made 19,128 false or misleading claims while in office, as verified by fact-checking. An article from another source, online, indicates that as of early April, Trump has lied more than 23 times daily on average in 2020.
Fact-checking Trump’s baseless claims, misleading statements and outright lies, both oral and written, is not restricting his freedom of speech; it’s merely warning the unwary about the claims he makes and brings a level of accountability and, therefore, responsibility for his behavior that’s anathema to Trump.
Vincent A. Syrek,
The letters section should not be a forum for falsehoods. While Jack Coughlin [“Trump is right about Twitter limits,” June 9] seems to have correctly instructed his NYPD recruits that freedom of speech has its limits, he is completely off-base to suggest that somehow Twitter has First Amendment obligations to anyone, including the president.
The First Amendment says that the government cannot limit free speech, except in certain specific situations. But Twitter is a private business. It is not the government. When President Donald Trump signed up with Twitter, he chose a private platform to express his views. Just like the rest of us, he agreed to Twitter’s terms of service.
If he doesn’t like the rules, he can stop tweeting and find a different way to express his beliefs. A private business, however, is not required to allow anyone to spread falsehoods using its platform.
What happens when unexpected happens
What many people in white America didn’t understand is how deeply blacks in America felt about violence toward black men and women. And what all of America didn’t foresee was how much of white America and of the world understood and were willing to commit to the simple call “Black Lives Matter.” A lot of souls have been provoked. So, in the blink of an eye and erupting from tragedy, there is more fight and hope than there has been in a long time.
For the last 3½ years, I haven’t been very proud of my country. For the last two months, that has changed. The unexpected is happening and I hope what started will remain vibrant for a long time. The civil rights crusaders no longer with us are all smiling down. And I’m smiling right back up.
How best to address bad behavior
A cellphone video showed a callous police officer draining the life out of an African American. It was hard to watch or comprehend. The handcuffed man was no threat to the officers. So why? Abhorrent behavior. Why no one tried to stop it is disgusting. Then protests broke out across the country, peaceful at first. Then nightfall came and again, abhorrent behavior, this time by so-called protesters. So why? I cannot comprehend.
Then I heard CNN’s Chris Cuomo say, “Who says protests have to be peaceful?” This was egging on bad behavior. Abhorrent behavior must not result in more abhorrent behavior. Adults must step in with adult reasoning. Who believes these behaviors are not wrong? So why?
What I now see is too many politicians reacting to mob behavior with little adult reasoning. The number one reason for government is the safety and security of its citizens and their property. Many of those we have elected seem to have forgotten this. The issue in this country is bad behavior begetting more bad behavior. Until we resolve this issue and treat each other with respect, nothing can be solved.
Cuomo’s two sets of standards on display
Our governor should practice what he preaches, especially if he might be on the front page of Newsday [“’Monumental,’” Cover, June 13]. There is absolutely no excuse for him or anyone else in this picture to not wear a face mask. It always seems to be two sets of standards: no mask for him and no social distancing for protesters, yet he will chastise others for doing the same thing.