Don't Violate Verizon's Right to Free Speech
By Don Watkins (sent to the New York Times on October 4, 2007)
Re "The Verizon Warning" (October 3, 2007)
Verizon’s policy of refusing to issue text message "short codes" for controversial issues was not "textbook censorship," but an exercise of Verizon’s freedom of speech.
Verizon was not censoring Naral by refusing its application for a text message short code any more than the Times censors groups when it refuses to run their ads. "Censorship" means the use of coercion to stop a person or group from communicating its views: it applies only to the government’s use of force against private citizens.
Private companies have a right to use their property as they see fit. Forcing them to carry messages they do not want to carry is the real violation of free speech.