The Venom Is Flying
April 2, 2002
Today is exactly 10 weeks to the day until the June 11th GOP primary elections in South Carolina. I guess you did not need me to tell you that, though. If you have been reading the major newspapers in South Carolina for the past few weeks, then you have undoubtedly seen the abundance of political venom flying across the pages!
It is pretty funny to see how a simple letter to the editor will put down one candidate's ideas or personal character on one day and then another letter to the editor in the same newspaper will praise that same candidate's ideas or personal character on the very next day.
Everyone has the right to express how they feel about a particular candidate or idea. The U.S. Constitution ensures all of us the freedom to express our opinions.
For the thinking person, these letters to the editor provide temporary escapes from political reality and deliver some much needed comic relief as the absurdity of each side is exposed in their attempts to tout their candidate or downplay their candidate's opponents.
It is sometimes hilarious to read what others think of the issues that you so passionately believe in.
However, these letters to the editor can be especially damaging when they are read by the uninformed and uneducated.
The passive political observer may run across one of these poison-filled paragraphs full of obvious lies and misconceptions and believe them to be true about what that particular candidate really stands for.
Absolute truth has now been replaced with direct sabotage in the media!
I place the blame for this squarely on the shoulders of one entity: newspaper editorial staffs!
They ought to be ashamed of themselves for allowing such obvious errors and personal attacks to be printed in their newspapers with no accountability for what is fact and what is fiction!
It is bad enough that the public has to endure through what everyone knows is an obvious liberal bias that now our minds have to sift through what is right and what is wrong.
For the educated man, this is not a major challenge. But for those who lack cognitive thinking ability, what is right and what is wrong is as blurry as a foggy windshield on a rainy day!
I recognize that this problem is not limited to South Carolina. Itís everywhere!
It is even worse in bigger cities like New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Atlanta. Editors of newspapers in these areas think they have a God-given mandate to control what opinions are printed if they just so happen to disagree with them.
Nevertheless, whether it's a big city or small town newspaper in America, publishing articles and editorials that are so blatantly filled with partial truths and/or bold-faced lies is wrong!
And just because everyone is doing it does not justify it happening.
So, what can we as concerned citizens do about it?
For starters, if you are an intelligent individual and concerned about this problem, it is your responsibility to contact your local newspaper and tell them that you expect them to publish the truth in their newspapers.
Tell them it is their duty to print the facts and to not allow enticing letters to the editor to be printed that are obviously not true. This is a disservice to both the general public and to the candidates who are being portrayed incorrectly.
Encourage your friends to get involved. If a newspaper thinks it is losing a lot of readers because of what they print in their newspaper, then they will do whatever is necessary to prevent that from happening further!
REMEMBER: It is all about selling newspaper to them. They will only print what you are willing to read.
Coming back to the heart of the matter, is it okay that the venom is flying from the editorial pages of newspapers during this crucial 2002 political campaign season?
Itís the American way because people and newspapers have a First Amendment right to express and print what they believe about a candidate or idea discussed during a campaign.
But it is not okay for newspapers to abdicate their responsibility as journalists to accurately and thoroughly publish the ideas of the various candidates by adding or taking away the facts about the candidates.
Otherwise, the venom that is flying in the 2002 elections may hit a vein of the cocky, indignant press and spell the end of their reign as a viable form of media in America!