We would love to publish your letters to the editor

Yesterday a letter to the editor was inadvertently labeled as news. My bad and my apologies. One reader took exception to the post on our Facebook page.

Bear with me and let me share my feelings about the state of the news in our great land. Much of what we see in the media these days is not news — it’s opinion and gossip masquerading as news. Let me say that again — much of what we see in the media is not news — it’s opinion and gossip masquerading as news.

And the electronic media — television and radio — for the most part have abandoned the very idea of news and instead seek to make money by carving out an audience of like-minded participants and then plowing that fertile ground as deeply as they can.

When you tune in to FOX News, you know exactly the perspective you’re going to receive (“Oh, that’s gotta hurt!”). Same thing with MSNBC. They gather their groups of experts and pundits and then just regurgitate the tribal line poking as much fun as they can at the other side along the way. I’m perfectly fine with that, but I pray people can realize what they’re getting isn’t news — it’s opinion and gossip masquerading as news.

It wasn’t always this way. Way back in 1949 near the dawn of the rise of television, the Federal Communications Council established the Fairness Doctrine because it feared the three networks at the time could set a biased public agenda. Under the Fairness Doctrine (remember equal time) broadcast networks were required to use the publicly owned electromagnetic spectrum to present both sides and contrasting views on public issues. Congress supported the idea and in the 1970s, the Federal Communications Commission called the Fairness Doctrine “the single most important requirement of operation in the public interest.” The Supreme Court upheld the doctrine in 1969 after a journalist sought the right to make a response to comments made about him on a Christian Crusade radio program.

In 1985, the FCC reversed course, and said the doctrine hurt the public interest and violated free speech rights, and in 1987 it was repealed. So, Congress codified the doctrine. President Ronald Reagan vetoed it. I leave to you to determine the wisdom or folly of all this while a similar debate rages today concerning the internet.

Personally, I still believe in John Stuart Mills’ (remember him — he’s one of the Founding Fathers) free and open marketplace of ideas — good ideas will be accepted, and bad ideas will be rejected. But consider this wrinkle of our time — it’s impossible to have that free and open marketplace if only one set of ideas is offered.

Here at lassennews.com we believe there must be a separation between news and opinion.

Letters to the editor
Should you choose to write a letter to the editor to share with our audience — and I hope you will — I am not the least bit concerned with the nature of your opinion, and I’m happy to share it with our readers. And contrary to some silly belief, I do not publish only those letters which share my views. Of course, we won’t publish letters of an overtly religious nature or those that are libelous or in poor taste. If issues arise about a letter, we will seek a resolution with the writer.

The letter in question dealt with an opinion about the war in Israel. I do not share that writer’s opinion, but as I’m trying to express, it’s not about me. My opinion is that war, any war — men hunting and killing each other with firearms, drones, missiles, bombs and the like is the darkest obscenity I can imagine. I wish we as a people would study war no more.

It’s my hope that with your participation, lassennews.com could become a forum of discussion for everyone in our community. That’s up to you. We have a large readership that is growing by leaps and bounds every week. If you’re interested in writing us a letter, we have a welcome place for you. Should you choose not to write one, that’s great, too,

Let me offer a heartfelt thank you to our advertisers and our readers. We really do appreciate it.