Oh capable perhaps but willing? It is not a matter of restricting free speech. It is a matter of being accountable for what is said. You may view such comments in isolation and decide to "tolerate" them but I don't see why the rest of us should or how objecting to such comments makes us intolerant or anti-free speech in the least. My comments and others I think make it obvious there is a bigger picture here and how this language is used, the deterioration of our discourse and violence it lays the groundwork for.
I suggest you read the article again. You seemed confused about who said what where and to whom.
Official campaign spokesman making ANY comment on facebook is public - publicized to close to a billion users. It's not like he said it to a buddy over a beer at a bar.
Ok. Here's the picture of the situation I arrived at from reading the article. Tbe reporter saw an opportunity to run with a story that would reflect badly on a spokesman for a member of Congress and do harm to it by painting a picture of the spokesman making it sound as if feminists should have acid thrown at them. In reading the story, however, I couldn't find sufficient evidence to warrant that picture. The context of the speech seemed to me to strictly within the campaign itself. One can imagine that there are two campaigns that are being waged against each other, and we are listening in on how one side thinks of the other's tactics. As such, I'm thinking the reporter, probably favoring the other side, chose this particular way of helping defeat their opponents. I wouldn't put it into the James O'Keefe category without more evidence, nor would I expect the portrayal to be disinterested either, without more evidence.
I'll concede the point about Facebook as I don't really understand its workings. It's possible that the campaigners have been drinking too much of their own koolaid, listening only to their cheerleaders on talk radio, or other media outlets, not all that aware that some of their language is being judged by a much wider audience. In that case the reporter may be doing a service by projecting that language onto this wider audience. However, before I come to this conclusion, I'd have to hear more about this spokesman, especially respecting the use of acid. Is he amplifying a meme, or was it just a one-off?
Let me tell you about an experience I had that I cherish for its importance, despite or because of how it tells me something about both me and about life in general. It has a bearing on this discussion, I think.
A number of years ago there was a tragic death of our first grand-daughter at the hands of their step-father, one that has remained a signal event in our lives and will remain so for the rest of it. Our close family and friends gathered together not long after that and spent quite a bit of time together doing what was felt to be necessary on that occasion. Everyone understood the gravity of the situation. As the gathering went on for awhile, the emotions took various turns, and many, including even me, found ourselves at times laughing and enjoying the moment we had with each other. When the phone rang (the gathering was at our house), I took the call while in this joyful mood, and couldn't determine who it was that was calling, she speaking in rather a low voice. In the mood I was in where I was trying to be get her to reveal her identity, I realized who it was. It was a close friend of ours from far away who was calling to express her condolences. I was totally devastated and embarrassed that I had been expressing myself to her in a way that signaled that I was having a good time over something that I should be grieving over in a solemn manner, a manner that she herself was expressing. I did my best to recover from it and talked to her for some time, but it left a mark that I don't wish to let go of.
I realize that this is not a good analogy. Analogies are never perfect anyway. However, what it has meant for me is that I don't judge people based on one-off remarks that otherwise offend me. Moreover, if I get to know the person and find this sort of "colorful" language the norm but that it doesn't go beyond that, it may become an endearing characteristic. How awful of me, I know. However, friendships are like that.
Nonetheless, I do understand the difference between public speech and private speech. Perhaps I don't understand Facebook speech, or even speech on this board, possibly thinking that Facebook is more like private speech than public, while on this board, it is more public than private. For my own purpose I'd say there's a distinction between strangers and people we know. Unless there is some encroachment by the public into an area that is assumed to be private, any communication to a stranger probably should be considered public, and in the present case, I think there is evidence of this in the response by the spokesman to a stranger on Facebook. His language in that case should be toned down. His arrogance probably got the better of him.
In so far as he should be held accountable for this, my thinking is that the reporter drew the balance sheet too far to one side. It wasn't balanced in my view. As for how the spokesman recovers from this embarrassing language, assuming that it did embarrass him, it will be difficult defend in the face of the "billions" who may have heard it, just as it would be difficult if not impossible to defend my being in a joyful spirit when I should be mournful. But life is like that at times. How much of a "federal case" do you want to make of it. Should we smear this guy? Tell me something about this guy that deserves the treatment he has been given.