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Gazette Editorial: Our letters to the editor policy during elections

With the Ocean Pines Association election underway and the candidates about to receive their instructions on what’s acceptable and what isn’t on the campaign front, it’s also time for us to reiterate our political letters to the editor policy.

It is the practice of this and our other publications to publish all letters we receive in the order we receive them as long as they aren’t profane, libelous or nonsensical, and do not contain personal attacks, wild accusations or bald-face lies.

However, we also don’t publish letters promoting, endorsing or opposing political candidates, whether they come from supporters or the candidates themselves.

This long-standing policy was put in effect to thwart political letter-writing campaigns, which have been attempted numerous times, mostly during Ocean Pines elections.

The reasons for this policy are this: we don’t have the space, and, with regard to the candidates themselves, it isn’t fair to give them free advertising when others are buying it from us or other publications.

Some will probably will protest that we are denying them their First Amendment rights, which, of course, is not so.

There’s some confusion about what the First Amendment truly guarantees us, but the short version is that it does give us the right to say what we think, but it doesn’t guarantee us the privilege of saying it wherever we want.

We do wish all the candidates the best of luck in what should be a rigorous campaign season. As for political letters, we’ll be happy to publish them … after the election is over.