New Castle News

May 22, 2013

First Amendment provides for differing viewpoints

By Staff
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Editor, The News:

I am replying to Matthew Finamore’s May 3 letter criticizing the newspaper for publishing Joseph Waltenbaugh’s letter criticizing gay marriage.

While I don’t condone anything Waltenbaugh said, I respectfully disagree with Finamore’s position that The News shouldn’t have published that letter.

I agree with Finamore’s position on equal rights for same sex couples, but at the same time, we do have the First Amendment. The First Amendment protects Waltenbaugh’s right to express his opinion, while also protecting Finamore’s right to scrutinize his opinion.

In the letter, Finamore said he wanted to have “an intelligent discourse” on the impacts of same sex marriage. My question for him would be what he views that to be, if he thinks that Waltenbaugh’s letter doesn’t intellectually contribute to that discourse he speaks of.

The problem with his argument is that the letter he finds to be unintelligent might be viewed as an intelligent viewpoint to someone else. Therefore, one can argue that intelligent discourse is in the eye of the beholder.

He added that it is the news publication’s job to serve as “facilitators” of public discourse. I agree with him there, as someone who worked in the college newspaper editorial staff for three years.

I just fail to see what The News did wrong, considering I learned in journalism that it would be our job to present both sides of the issue. As long as the letters didn’t go over the word count and could be backed up, just about anything was published.

To conclude, I applaud The News for publishing both their letters, and letting the readers make up their own minds. If you believe the public opinion polls, Finamore is winning the argument.

Sean Bracken

East Winter Avenue

New Castle