Last week The Temple News censored my letter to the editor and changed the phrase “pro-life” to “anti abortion” in an attempt to change the messaging behind my letter, which criticized a previously-written letter that attacked the GOP for being anti-contraception and perpetuating a so-called “war on women.”
Whether or not you agree with the points I made last week regarding the First Amendment right to freedom of religion, I think you should be concerned about what happened to my letter for several reasons.
This egregious violation of the First Amendment right to freedom of speech should have everyone concerned, mainly because of what purpose the editorial page should serve in any newspaper. Most publications have a bias one way or the other, and the letters to the editor page is often reserved for those who want to criticize and critique articles and previous letters written to the newspaper about previously written articles. This page is designed to come from readers, not the editor.
If opposing views are squashed, is there informational honesty in a newspaper?
When the letters to the editor become letters from the editor, we all know the newspaper has gone from an objective source of news to an apparatchik of one viewpoint over another.
While the paper claimed that the phrase “pro-life” is not recognized in the Associated Press style manual, and therefore not fit for publication, they did run the phrase twice in the letter from a Penn Student. That student was criticizing the pro-life movement in an attempt to delegitimize their viewpoints. Correct me if I am wrong, but shouldn’t letters to the editor be outside of editorial purview so long as they are not ad-homonym attacks? The phrasing in my article was changed in an attempt to change the narrative behind my piece, which was civil to both sides of the pro-life and pro-choice argument.
Censoring and changing a phrase that may not be in agreement with a newspaper’s political views is unethical and purely wrong.
As Temple students, we deserve to have a newspaper that is impartial, non-biased, and accepting of all terminology, regardless of how it may threaten the viewpoints of the editor. I urge all readers to contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org and urge them to promptly resign as a result of the censorship and distortion of an opposing viewpoint in last week’s newspaper.
President, Temple College