The self-annointed king of Speak Out

Sunday, October 3, 2004
Steve Mosley loves Speak Out. He has the license plate to prove it.

Steve Mosley knows the anguish of accomplishing something momentous but never receiving recognition for it.

The self-proclaimed "King of Speakout" says he has had more than 18,000 Speakout comments published in the last 20 years -- an average of three per day every day for two decades.

"I've had more anonymous commentary published in a newspaper than anyone in the history of journalism, but receive no recognition," he said. "However, given the content of some of my comments, the fact that they're anonymous has probably saved me from great bodily harm."

Mosley himself admits that the claim may be difficult for many to swallow. Not even the Guiness Book of World Records took him up on it when he asked them to give him credit for having the most anonymous commentary published in newspapers.

"They did write back but respectfully declined," Mosley said.

His first comment was published in 1984 in the Standard Democrat newspaper in Sikeston, Mo., where he lived for 30 years before moving to Cape Girardeau.

"I was in a foul mood one evening, picked up the paper and read a column by Standard Democrat publisher Mike Jensen. He was verbally assaulting a nationally known figure he had already criticized many, many times," Mosley said. "I picked up the phone, called the Standard Democrat Speak Out number and in essence told Jensen to take a tranquilizer and get a grip."

Mosley more or less forgot about it until his comment appeared in the newspaper a few days later along with a reply from Jensen, "telling me," Mosley said, "that I was the one who was off kilter and in need of medication. The rest is history."

Mosley is most proud of his personalized "SPKOUT" license plate which graced his vehicle for a period of time when he lived in Sikeston.

Mosley's thinking on the impact of Speak Out has evolved.

"I used to think it was an agent for progressive change resulting from the voice of the people, so to speak," he said. "That was because members of the establishment were always complaining and griping about Speak Out so much."

"However, I now think it has become a tool of the establishment because when people complain about things in Speak Out they kind of get it off their chests and there doesn't seem to be much follow through," he said. "I suppose it has effected some positive change, like getting the roundabout widened."

Mosley says he still submits three to six comments per day but adds that his rate of publication has dropped off dramatically.

"I think the number of contributors has increased dramatically and the staff and management of the Southeast Missourian has determined that everyone deserves his 15 minutes of anonymous fame," he said.

Mosley's favorite Speak Out comment for which he publicly takes credit?

"When in the course of human events will Speak Out ever start making sense?"