June 16th, 2024

Censoring opinions not in society’s best interest


By Lethbridge Herald on November 2, 2022.

Lethbridge Herald Editorial Board

Freedom of speech. It’s a term we hear often from people who have opinions on any subject and feel they have the right to a public forum to express them.

We’ve seen attacks made on this newspaper from both the right and left sides of the political spectrum because of the tone of opinions expressed on this page, mostly in letters to the editor.

We’ve gotten attacked because of the tone of columnists whose opinion pieces we run that people disagree with.

Some, on both sides of the political spectrum, feel others’ viewpoints have no merit and don’t have a right to be publicly expressed. This is freedom of speech with an asterisk. It’s OK to run columns or letters that follow a particular ideology but not others? 

That’s not freedom of speech, it’s censorship. And no media outlet – newspaper, television or radio – that allows opinions to be expressed can afford to start acting as censors. 

It’s one thing to cut out – or refuse – commentary that is defamatory, racist, slanderous or blatantly false. And we regularly reject letters for publication for those reasons.

 But to discard an opinion piece just because someone disagrees with its contents?

 If we were to only allow columns and letters from liberals, we would be subject to justified wrath from conservative audiences. Just as we now are subject to contempt from left-wing audiences who object to members of the public with conservative viewpoints being allowed a forum in this newspaper.

Out of fairness we’ve given space on this page to those who have publicly attacked us and our journalists regardless how we feel about those attacks.

The opinion page of a newspaper is – and needs to be – a place for a diverse range of views to be expressed. Depending on the issues in any community, there may be a tendency of public opinion to lean one way or another. We have no control over that.  

Expecting the newspaper to censor opinions because they don’t fit a particular political slant or viewpoint is unfair to us, our audience and the concept of freedom of speech – which all in this country are entitled to have. 

Not just those with  liberal or conservative political viewpoints.

All residents of this country are entitled to express an opinion until such time as a government removes that right. 

And hopefully, that will never happen in Canada.

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Dennis Bremner

I will attempt to itemize your problem.
Woah is me. You regularly suppress info you disagree with. Your interpretation of Free Speech is at best limited. You appear to be more concerned about offending groups of people, then getting at the truth. The impression of most activists in this city is if you have something to say that might interfere with a Herald employee getting to City Hall as a full time employee, then it will not be printed.
You seem to be evolving into a Woke Gen Newspaper that only prints the centerline in fear of offending someone. You seem to interpret racism redneck-ism, opinion, left and right with a wider lens then most so as not to “embarrass the newspaper”. Yet you seem to forget its “one’s personal opinion”, not the paper’s opinion. You get it from “both sides” because you do not print “both sides”. So in an attempt to straddle the fence you fail to address the real issues in this city.
Want an example? You appear to have done no research, no journalism whatsoever, as to where the 400 homeless are coming from. Yet it is the most important issue to this city, at the moment! You have not studied/stated what is motivating these people to suddenly arrive on our doorstep and you continually avoid stating obvious conflicts in committee’s that are perpetually setup in this city that “appear” to have a pre-determined agenda and a chosen solution before they start. Conflicts never get the time of day. Terms like $400 and shuttle buses mean absolutely nothing to you, when they should as a journalist!
Your research seems to be purposely superficial because superficial creates a middle of the road assessment of any situation. If you never delve deep into an issue you never have to produce thorough understandings so people can determine cause, effect and yes, in some cases blame. So reporting on a topic with no in depth research seems to serves you well.
Basically you seem to avoid anything that identifies the real issues because some may lead back to City Hall or to other establishments in the city, so you do not pursue them! You could produce a paper worth reading, but you seem to prefer “safe” middle of the road articles on local activities.
The people that complain are the ones who prefer you as a fence sitting paper, so as soon as you step off a centerline a little bit, one group complains. The majority and remainder wonder why you did not step all the way, in either direction! Fence sitting with a small variance irritates the left/right and the righteous!
you raised the topic- “my opinion only”!

Last edited 1 year ago by Dennis Bremner
Fescue

Seeing Red: A History of Natives in Canadian Newspapers.

https://www.amazon.ca/Seeing-Red-History-Canadian-Newspapers/dp/0887557279

It might be a thought for the Herald to have a BIPOC person article and provide feedback on the sorts of stories and opeds on which you might consider applying more editorial control.

Fescue

I should add that Ms. Pulido-Guzman has offered some thoughtful articles to this effect. But someone from the Blackfoot Nation would be an asset.

Dennis Bremner

Totally agree. This paper is so afraid to be considered racist that it only produces feel good articles. To come to any sort of solution when it comes to Canada’s past you must first identify the problem. This paper is so afraid that while identifying the problem that it may be considered racist that it posts nothing other than the Pow Wows.
As far as I know there is no Indigenous Journalist on staff and if they have been looking for one, they obviously have not tried hard enough. You cannot even get a discussion going in this paper because of the middle of the road thought process.
If any issues involve the Indigenous and our treatment of them, then that’s a no go. If any issues identify the lack of work by EITHER group to correct it, that’s off limits. If Agenda’s are present in any solution from either side, that’s a no go as well. Best to ignore, and it might go away is the banner they hold.
I have no doubt that this paper thinks most of the addicts are coming from the Reserve and do not want to highlight that but if they did some research they would find that is not the case with the newest group. But again, they would have to get off that fence.

Last edited 1 year ago by Dennis Bremner