Pubdate: Tue, 05 Mar 2002
Source: Amarillo Globe-News (TX)
Copyright: 2002 Amarillo Globe-News
Author: Redford Givens


According to Anne Chappell's twisted logic (Feb. 17 letter, "Keep letters 
more local"), a newspaper in an area with an inbred belief in witch-hunting 
should never print contradictory opinions about witchcraft from anybody 
outside the local area.

Newspapers have an obligation to publish contrasting views. Otherwise, 
lies, dissembling and propaganda could reign unchecked.

Well-informed activists have educated the public to the risks of 
environmental destruction, the dangers of nuclear power, scandals in high 
places, and many other matters of great importance to the nation.

Refusing to air views from outside the newspaper's home area would have 
made it impossible to correct serious problems the public had been unaware of.

Activists who endorse phony beliefs, such as cults like the Ku Klux Klan, 
are generally dismissed as the nut-cases they are, so printing their 
letters does no harm. Indeed, exposing their views can cause a backlash 
against them.

However, the activists Ms. Chappell refers to are not wrongheaded cult 
leaders. We are people who are genuinely concerned about the negative 
effects of America's lunatic drug crusade and other bad social policies. If 
our views are illogical or unworthy of consideration, people do not need 
censorship to protect them. The arguments will stand or fall on their own 

Letters to the editor should be considered on the basis of the 
appropriateness to the issue under discussion, not the place where the 
writer lives or how popular the idea may be in the newspaper's area.

Redford Givens

San Francisco, Calif.
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MAP posted-by: Keith Brilhart