Palo Alto City Mayor Hosts Jay Thorwaldson Retirement Censorship Party

Censorship And The Palo Alto Online

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Jay Thorwaldson

*Censorship is the suppression of speech or deletion of communicative material which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or inconvenient to the government or media organizations as determined by a censor.


It’s amazing the number of community posts removed by the editorial staff of the Palo Alto Online namely headed by its founder Jay Thorwaldon.

I think it’s safe to say most people would rather remain anonymous including me for many reasons and that’s okay with me when commenting or blogging.

What I set out to do was to determine the extent to which posts were censored by the Palo Alto Online and the findings were rather revealing.

But first, let us examine the comments most notably made by a past US President and Eric Arthur Blair better known by his pen name George Orwell, an English author and journalist.

(*Most research material used for this editorial can be found on the internet and through Wikipedia – The Free Encyclopedia)

“We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.”

-John Fitzgerald Kennedy-

“If this nation is to be wise as well as strong, if we are to achieve our destiny, then we need more new ideas for more wise men reading more good books in more public libraries. These libraries should be open to all-except the censor.

We must know all the facts and hear all the alternatives and listen to all the criticisms. Let us welcome controversial books and controversial authors. For the Bill of Rights is the guardian of our security as well as our liberty.”

-John Fitzgerald Kennedy-

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”

-George Orwell-

Having said this, what I found which was extremely disturbing in my attempts at uncovering the truth was the way the (Weekly) the Palo Alto On-line version, censors and at times completely removes “blogger” posts without further explanation.

In fact, many Palo Alto On-Line posts found not to be in compliance with their terms of use will either be edited by the editorial staff to fit the subject material being discussed or deleted altogether.  In some circles the editing of comments are called spinning the story.

For this editorial I set out to question one of the key writers of the Weekly, Gennady Sheyner.  He was clearly irritated with my line of questioning concerning censorship, and First Amendment issues.

The following are just a few of his comments I was able to glean before he cut me off.

Mr. Gennady stated he was unaware that any of the articles authored by him were being edited, partially removed or deleted.  I found that very hard to believe.

In fact he stated that in some cases the editing and or the removal of posts he felt were completely acceptable and personally, would not view such actions as being defined as censorship.

When I questioned him further about changing post comments to fit the story-line, then things got a little tense and he excused himself.

He did say that the actual editing of posts were the responsibility of the editorial staff.  I’m assuming that’s Jay Thorwaldon chief censor.

I found his attitude very surprising, especially coming from a reported who you would think, would view the First Amendment as the equivalent of the “Holy Grail”.

We did have one thing in common which I was not given the time to discuss.  Anthony Lewis – Author  of “Gideon’s Trumpet”.

The story of Clearance Earl Gideon a personal mentor and a man with an 8th grade education that changed the course of legal history as we know it today.

Again, *Censorship is the suppression of speech or deletion of communicative material which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or inconvenient to the government or media organizations as determined by a censor.

And in my opinion, by editing, changing the content or removing posts altogether without further explanation,  Mr. Thorwaldon personally places our First Amendment rights on a very, very slippery slope to the degree; our personal liberties may be taken away from us altogether.

City of Palo Alto Retirement Proclamation – Jay Thorwaldson