Letters from our readers

Know the difference between facts and opinions


To the Editor:
Upon reading the Dec. 16 issue of The Advocate, I wanted to ensure that the difference between an “opinion” by a commentator and a “news article” by a reporter is clear to all your readers. At this point, it may not always be easy to distinguish, not like it was in the days of Edward R. Morrow and Walter Cronkite.
When I was in journalism school, we learned the difference between unbiased reporting and opinions. Opinions are defined as a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.
Unbiased reporting is based on facts, researched and, hopefully, confirmed by at least two sources. Laura Schiermeier does a great job of reporting and writing articles for the paper.
The item highlighted in “For the Record” is an opinion by Ralph Voss. It’s unfortunate, with the current media environment, that there are a lot of opinions being presented as fact. It is unfortunate because there are so many people who believe anything in print or on a news show.
It would be a nice change to have an opposing opinion piece represented in the paper as well. And, it would be nice if the facts were given by the publisher of the paper. In this way, your readers could have the facts and the opinions, and be able to form their own, more educated, opinions.
I recently was reminded that our constitutional right of free speech does have limits. For example, it is unlawful to run into a crowded event and yell “FIRE” if there is not. Let’s hope that everyone is reading these opinions will do their own research in order to know what is true and what’s not, while still allowing for some freedom of speech.
Diana James


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