Letters and responses
I have appreciated seeing a wide range of views in the Bulletin, reflective of our society. If I may suggest, it might be good to remind writers that it is not necessary to be disagreeable when disagreeing. Passions can run high, but there are good, honest, intelligent people on the left and right, and they deserve respect. We are all neighbours in Aylmer.
On that note, I was disappointed to see, in today’s edition of the Bulletin, a letter from a reader published, and directly beside it points from the editor with the intention of contradicting the reader’s views! This reminds me of a corporate tabloid, but is not in newspapers of the quality of the Bulletin.
It is certainly acceptable for an editor to have pronounced views, as long as these are acknowledged. (Kudos for your own forthrightness in this!) But the editor has editorial space to put forth his or her views every week.
Obviously, a letter writer has no right to be published. But if the paper chooses to publish a reader’s letter, the implication is that the perspective is valid, in which case the editor should let it speak for itself. If there is an error, better simply not to publish it.
But printing a letter in order to immediately contradict it on the same page smacks of very bad faith.. Why expose a letter writer to a public correction, when the person doing the correcting is the same person who decided to print it? This can make the editor look like a bully, which is out of line with your good practice of years past. (I remember congratulating you on this point several years ago!)
REPLY: The Bulletin’s policy is to not publish statements known to be untrue, even when presented as opinion – this is our attempt to avoid anyone using the letters to pass along “fake news”. We will try to fact-check questionable statements. Some reach the edge of a judgement call, but we are determined to err on the side of accuracy rather than on “the freedom to say anything”. Thus our comment on the letter in question. Our note qualified one statement, not everything which the writer presented. We apologize if this was not clearly done. We appreciate Mr Kane’s reprimand, and do welcome all opinions (... but not fake news).