BY C. A. RAY
As the editor of the Grant County Herald, I often find myself explaining the First Amendment – what it means and what it doesn’t mean. Authors of letters to the editor seem to think the First Amendment means this newspaper must publish their letter. No we don’t, just as the owners of Twitter and Facebook, which are private businesses as well, do not have to allow posts that they find objectionable, libelous, untrue, or they just plain don’t like.
The First Amendment protects the rights of private businesses to do this.
On the other hand, it also allows private media to publish letters, columns, or posts that criticize the government, etc.
At the Herald, we certainly try to publish as many letters to the editor as we can. We like them, appreciate the dialogue they open up, and celebrate the First Amendment that makes it all possible.
Seldom has an issue so galvanized opinion writers like the four years of President Donald J. Trump. We have published dozens of both pro and con President Trump letters throughout the years. One letter spawns a reply, which spawns a counter reply, and so on and so on. Nothing is solved, and no one’s mind is changed. These letters do little but cause hard feelings and have neighbors saying things they shouldn’t say about each other.
On the other hand, we often get unsigned letters, blasting the author of a particular letter to the editor they disagree with, or blasting the Grant County Herald for daring to publish it.
Unsigned letters are cowardly, and end up in the trash.
But now the Trump era is over! He is no longer president… and I now declare the Opinion & Letters page of the Grant County Herald to be a Trump-free zone… at least for now!
We will not publish letters to the editor, columns, or editorials, (after this week), in which the main subject is Donald J. Trump, his flaws, or his attributes. We believe this will go a long way towards cooling down the vitriolic rhetoric of the last four years.
As they say, “Out of sight, out of mind”…hopefully!