Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: Paper shouldn’t editorialize on letters

I have to admit that I was a bit shocked at the decision of the editors of this paper to “pre-empt” a letter to the editor from a Trump supporter. The whole point of a letter to the editor is for the writer to express his or her thoughts or beliefs, even if the editors from the newspaper do not agree, it is not their role to argue the point before the public has even read the person’s opinions. The readers are the judge of a person’s opinion, not the editors. What if this topic had been concerning someone’s religion? Would the editors have made such statements decrying that person’s beliefs? Of course not. The same respectful treatment should be applied to a person’s political or social beliefs, agree with them or not.
It is already inexcusable that the biggest daily paper in Vermont does not run op-ed pages anymore, and I have been relieved that the Addison Independent has continued this very welcome and necessary forum for the exchange of local ideas, responses, messages and points-of-view. But if the editors choose to defame a person’s letter even as they are publishing it, the whole notion of freedom of speech comes into question. 
I truly hope that this letter is not published with a preempted response, but perhaps an apology to the previous letter writer would be appropriate. It does not matter if you or I agree with him. It matters that he wrote a letter to tell others how he felt about something, and it should have been published without judgement.
Deb Mager Rickner
Monkton
 
Editor’s note: The purpose of the letters-to-the-editor’s forum is to offer one’s point of view, but it is not a forum to willingly spread false information. When letters are filled with conspiracy theories that are knowingly false, it is this newspaper’s responsibility to point out those falsehoods. We don’t edit opinions, but we do adhere to known facts.

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