Blogs » Community Conversation Editor » To print or not to print? That is the question

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Our editorial board adheres to the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, the freedom of speech and freedom of press. This democratic law is what binds us and unites us. However, when the speech is untrue, should we be free to say it to the world? Would you say it is irresponsible of a newspaper to print untruths?

Recently, we published a guest column authored by Memorial High School government teacher Peter Aparicio. The column has become a point of contention and a focal point for others wanting to chime in on what Aparicio said.

The content of the column included things that Aparicio said he hoped isn’t true, things about our U.S. president, and that is the key point. Many, since the column was published, have taken the information in Aparicio’s column and stated it as fact.

I can tell you right now, that the Advocate’s editorial board has set up policy that no statement of untruth or unsubstantiated points will be printed. But that’s where it gets fuzzy. When someone says he hopes these things aren’t true, it is an opinion that is questioning the truth of these rumors and theories. Or is it a sly way to publish untruths?

We certainly don’t want to encourage untruths and fallacies to be spread in such a manner.

Just for the record, anybody can go to factcheck.org and find out if something is true or not. Factcheck.org has a large panel of experts who check facts out.

The second point here is that many readers think that when we publish something on our Viewpoints Page, we are endorsing it or believe it. This is simply not true. All we do is provide a page or forum for people with viewpoints. If you want to know what we endorse, look under the heading “Our views.” All other opinion/editorial pieces will fall under the headings “Other Views,” and “Your Views” – these are not our views.

We struggle constantly with letting all viewpoints appear on our page. But when an issue or discovery or something is not proven or is plainly untrue, we will not publish it.

So I ask you, our readers – because we have received concerns about printing untruths on our Viewpoints Page – should we have not have printed Aparicio’s guest column? The op/ed piece had untruths in it, but Aparicio said he hoped they were not true.

Our goal is to have a civil discussion, a forum for everybody’s opinion. Also, if you feel compelled to disagree with any column, you are invited to have a guest column and state your opinion, as well.

We invite your feedback on this issue, and we plan on talking about it at our editorial board meeting Wednesday. I will take your opinions with me.