Saturday, February 14, 2009


It seems that somewhere over time anonymous has gone from being a cleaver author to just plain mean and spiteful. We recently received an e-mail from anonymous about the cold case the Fond du Lac Police Department recently solved. It was critical of the police chief and took potshots at the young woman who was killed back in the 70s. Granted we took it with a grain of salt since the author couldn’t spell and may have had a few before sending the comment along.

The Internet is providing an avenue for anyone with an opinion to hide behind anonymity. If you want to express yourself you can hide behind a user name without actually giving away who you are. You can even infer that you know what you’re talking about if you can dream up a smart user name.

I’m all about people feeling comfortable enough to put pen to paper or in this case fingers to keyboard. However some just go over the line. The problem is that people who read comments posted on websites equate them with being legitimate. If they aren’t policed that tends to lend credibility to them.

Over the years I’ve handled complaints, especially when someone leaves me a phone message and a number I can get back to. The idea is to find out if you’ve made a mistake so you can learn from it and do better next time. Some times the person making the complaint just wants to talk to someone or find out why you handled a situation the way you did. Responding to them is just common courtesy.

Occasionally we get calls from someone that is angry, profane, sometimes drunk or high, and leaves a message without saying who they are and what ticked them off. Sure it upsets you, but it also leaves you wondering what type of person would do that.

In the radio biz some hide behind what we call air names. Those are names that people dream up that are easy to remember or catchy so you will remember them. The first radio station I worked at I used an air name. Not because I wanted to, but because my boss wanted it so. I haven’t had to since then. Thank goodness. Although people still ask me if I’m related to the Bob Nelson that was a weather man for a Green Bay TV station back in the day. By the way I’m not.

I think if you have something to say you should put your name on it. If however it’s going to put you at risk then I can see why you wouldn’t want to. I know some pretty impressive people have taken risks and associated their names with some thought provoking, inspiring and sometime incendiary words.

“Four score and seven years ago.” “All we have to fear is fear itself.” “Ask not what you can do for your Country.” “I have a dream.” “We hold these truths to be self evident.”

The last of course is from a nearly 233 year old document that a number of men signed knowing it would probably put their lives at risk. Imagine how less powerful the Declaration of Independence would have been if there was an anonymous among the signatures.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well done Bob. Bravo.

Thanks for your honest and ethical approach to the news. You are KFIZ's Alan Colmes.