It's Not Complicated. Bigotry Simply Lowers The Tone.
Low, stupid, cheap and wrong, small-minded, sub-literate, vulgar, bigoted, moronic, retrograde - any one of these is sufficient reason for a newspaper editor to pass on publishing a letter. A self-evidently racist letter simply lowers the tone. It is not an infringement upon anyone's free speech rights to refuse publication of such letters; it is indeed the healthy exercise of free speech to make such decisions, to say no, go away, we don't want your rubbish cluttering up the newspaper's letters pages.
How does one determine what letters are unworthy of publication in a newspaper? A good question, the CBC's Gregor Craigie asks me this morning. Succinctly answered: Exercise the judgment of a sensible grown-up trained in the disciplines of journalism and there should be no great difficulty in determining which sort of "views" are simply deserving of quarantine.
Sorry I can't do better than that. Maybe one question I should have asked aloud was whether this incident is imagined to raise some thorny free speech question only because "racism" is a word that gets chucked around rather willynilly these days, such that when the genuine article presents itself it is not so easily distinguishable in all the flotsam simply disfavoured by the "politically correct" (I do hate that term but it seems to work here well enough).
I would even be prepared to bet that there are idiots abroad who would say that people of Norse ancestry are owed an apology from me owing to my reductio-ad-absurdum 'What have the Norwegians ever done for us?' bit on CBC this morning. No bloody way. Not after what the Scandinavians did to Brian Boru on April 23, 1014. I've been bitter about it ever since.