First Amendment

A followup note about my Sunday post defending the free speech rights of Jeff Martin, the Greensboro blogger silenced by conservative activists' lawsuit alleging libel.

I noted in that piece that Martin's schtick at his blog,, was to be crude, rude, nasty and mean. I also noted that free speech is a public good, even when it occasionally offends.

While writing the piece Friday, I put a call out to Martin. I'd never met or spoken to him previously. I wanted his take on being sued, and I hoped he'd give me the latest on his settlement talks with the members or former members of Conservatives for Guilford County who had sued him.

Martin returned the call Saturday, but I missed him because I wasn't in the office. My post was published without his input. Not that it mattered, as you'll see below.

The message he left on my phone was pure Martin. In other words, proof that appreciating free speech does not equal liking the speaker.

Here's Martin's message:

"Hey, you wet fart. This is Jeff Martin. It's Saturday, 10:30. I will not speak to you under any circumstances about any topic whatsoever. The only thing I'm prepared to accept from you is your ****ing resignation. Kiss my ass."

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​Jeff Gauger is editor and publisher of the News & Record and and author of the blog Editor's Sounding Board. Contact him at (336) 373-7051 or Follow @Jeff_GaugerNR on Twitter.

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