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August 29, 2004

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Tom

So, I don't mean to come off immediately as obnoxious, but if I *did* find out the identity of the Publisher, is it a dereliction of my duty to my readers to not post who you are, if it benefits your project and the future of this type of journalism - which I wholeheartedly support?

Just curious.

Jeff Harrell

What the hell kind of duty do you think you have, exactly? What public good are you serving by disclosing information that (1) is none of the public's business, as He Who Must Not Be Named is undertaking a wholly private business endeavor, (2) that you have been specifically asked not to disclose and that (3) if made public could result in very specific harm to the parties involved? What possible justification could you concoct to explain that one?

I'll give you an example. I have an acquaintance who blogs under a pseudonym. He jealously guards the details of his personal life; he won't even go public about what city he lives in. Why? Because he regularly receives death threats from overly zealous and possibly even emotionally disturbed people who take offense at what he writes. Do I have some kind of moral obligation to publish his name? Do you? Do you believe that you do?

Our society holds as one of its core values the freedom of speech; we even went so far as to write down, with actual ink, a prohibition on our government from ever abridging that freedom. But speech has consequences, and consequences have a way of conspiring to limit our freedoms in a way more insidious than any Congress could ever devise. So the freedom to remain anonymous is as surely a part of our freedom of speech as the First Amendment is.

And with that, your honor, the defense rests.

The One True b!X

Not so cut and dried as that. Right now, part of the buzz that's bringing attention to this endeavor is the "who is behind it" question. Keeping that information secret is part of how Pegasus is hyping its plans. But in the interest of trying to determine what's hype and what is not, I would think there is some legitimacy to wanting to know who is behind it, so that we can all judge whether or not to take them seriously.

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