Letter writer wrongly claimed speech infringement when post was removed from candidate’s social media

Posted 11 June 2024 at 11:27 am


Tim McMurray’s recent letter to the editor, “DA candidate deletes opposing views on her campaign’s social media page,” is filled with inaccuracies and blatantly false statements.

First and foremost, the notion that his “right to free speech” was “infringed” shows a fundamental lack of Constitutional law. Instead of claiming Ms. Howard “hides from tough questions” he should have asked her, or Mr. Sansone what protected speech is in the eyes of the law.

The issue is McMurray’s Facebook post and subsequent blocking from Ms. Howard’s campaign page. McMurray’s sole intention was to defend his candidate, Mr. Sansone, on Ms. Howard’s page. This is akin to going on the McDonald’s Facebook page to claim that Burger King has better food. Any competent social media manager would remove such a post, and the person who did so was not only acting appropriately, but would be foolish not to.

As far as the “infringement” is concerned. Unless a governmental entity runs a Facebook page, the First Amendment does not protect an individual’s speech on a social media platform. I am sure Mr. Sansone appreciates McMurray’s zeal, but as a candidate for District Attorney, Mr. Sansone should have advised Mr. McMurray against spreading blatantly false accusations. In fact, McMurray is doing the very thing he accused Howard’s campaign of doing: spinning and distorting facts, along with spreading misinformation.

Facebook is a private entity with the legal right to determine how its platform is run, and the Supreme Court upheld this earlier this year.

Voters in Orleans County should be far more concerned that the majority of voters are not even eligible to vote in an election that will likely decide who holds one of the county’s most important positions. The handling of the Theresa Karlak case alone should make every voter question the power of the district attorney and the influence of local political leaders.

Thom Jennings