HURTFUL SPEECH FROM COWARDS
That said, I have nothing but contempt for those who post nasty, hurtful - and often libelous - comments to online newspaper articles or online television reports or to anything else. These people are too cowardly to put their name where their comment is. Anonymity for good purpose, however, can have its place. For example, anonymous “whistleblowers’ oft times have done a world of good in the workplace. Likewise, helpful investigative journalism would suffer if it were not for anonymous sources. Legitimate anonymity is a far cry from vicious comments posted on-line by unidentified (except, perhaps by a goofy avatar) and cowardly provocateurs.
Commercial entities - newspapers, television stations, etc. - which publish anonymous on-line comments likely do so in the name of profit, without sufficient concern that a lot of people are undeservedly hurt. Several courts have ruled that “shield laws” that protect journalists and their sources, also shield writers who post anonymous on-line comments. That seems a bit of a stretch, but stretching isn’t uncommon in too many courts nowadays.
Whatever, I’m an advocate our First Amendment right to free speech, even when hurtful speech comes from cowards.