On political letters
You may have noticed a number of paid letters to the editor in recent issues of The Morgan Messenger. Generally we require that a letter be paid – and marked as such – when it does not correspond to our letters' policy. Some are simply too long, or the writer insists that no editing be done, or the content veers into advertising a product.
This fall, the product promoted in most of the paid letters is a political candidate. Some folks want to endorse a politician or tell you who to vote for. Of course, this is essentially advertising. And, just because one candidate's supporters may be more avid letter writers shouldn't have any bearing on an election's outcome.
Other writers may want to take issue with a political ad run by one candidate or another. Our policy has always been that an ad is answered by an ad. Otherwise we're giving free space to one person so they can respond to someone else who paid for their space. That's not fair.
There are sometimes fine lines to be drawn. For instance, people may certainly comment on public actions taken by their elected officials and on topics in the news. Since some of these officials may be up for reelection, this could be seen as helping or hurting them, but, then, they're already in office.
And, we do allow letters for and against ballot issues, such as the school levy that is up for renewal on November 4, to encourage debate on such nonpartisan issues.
We hope this explains our thinking on some of the letters we've received this political season.