In Your Own Words. . .
Every political campaign does it. But I am very gratified to see that the FLS, which has traditionally been both the clearing house and ethical watchdog for political letters and opinion pieces, has thrown down the gauntlet on pre-printed letters to the editor:
“What we don’t like to receive is letters to the editor generated by political campaigns–even if we like the candidates for whom the campaigns are speaking–or special interest groups. Because we’re already deep into the presidential election season, we’ve received letters of this ilk from both contenders’ camps. The people supporting President Bush and Sen. John Kerry have developed eloquent ‘talking points’ that you can download and easily e-mail to us. It’s quick, and especially around this busy area, it can be tempting to copy-and-paste these prefab comments and send them our way.”
I can think of a couple occasions when I was first involved in politics where people would send pre-fabricated letters to people, and Larry Evans would catch three of the same letter and trash them all – yet still let them count against the stack of letters he would print for each candidate.
Not exactly the best policy (it hurts those who genuinely want to contribute to the political debate), but folks should take a moment and respect what the FLS Opinion section is. It is the embodiment of the public square. So be original, please!