Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Letters

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Letters

Article excerpt

Don't put money above public trust

Harvey Leonard Gotliffe's "Shop Talk at Thirty" article ("Understanding the First Amendment," p. 54) in your June 26 issue was interesting. I don't want to debate the merits of whether the ad for the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust should be published. Not having seen the ad, it's difficult to comment. However, the quote attributed to Jim Rogers, business manager for The Post of Ohio University, is disconcerting.

He said in essence that he will run any ad in his publication as long as the advertiser has the money in hand because newspapers are a "forum and sell advertising for anyone who has the price."

No doubt a newspaper is a forum. However, a newspaper has an obligation to the readers it serves to be responsible in how it conducts business and manages that forum. Even more than other businesspeople within a community, city, or region, newspaper professionals should strive to be a channel through which intelligent, logical, unbiased, objective, and ethical decisions flow. Why? Because if not managed properly, a newspaper can control public opinion instead of reporting or advertising facts properly [and] thus allowing readers to make up their own minds; it can subject its readers to an institutional bias instead of taking a stand of purposeful neutrality; and, it can harden pre-existing prejudices instead of raising the level of awareness of its readers. …

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