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‘Can I Be Sure?’

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To the Editor:

Mr John Voket, editor of The Newtown Bee, recently expressed to me that no, The Bee is not Republican leaning. Really?

The New York Times has a Letter-to-the-Editor policy whereby authors of letters are contacted before any changes are made to their letters. According to Mr Voket, he decides on edits, with no obligation to notify the authors beforehand. Should he?

I penned a Letter to the Editor titled “Don’t Be Fooled” that appeared in the October 21 edition of The Bee. When I read the published version, it was astounding to me that the words “I think” were added to the beginning of two of my sentences, and the words “I believe” were added to the beginning of two other sentences. These insertions changed the tone of my letter. The changes were made by Mr Voket, through his own admission. This was a Letter to the Editor.

Isn’t it implied that what I wrote were thoughts, beliefs, opinions?

After reading the published version of my letter, I began reading other letters. I was struck by the first one that caught my eye, which was in support of Senator Hwang. If the same rules had been applied to this letter as were applied to mine, “I think” or “I believe” would have been inserted at the beginning of at least four of the sentences in the letter. They weren’t.

I submitted the same “Don’t Be Fooled” letter to Voices (October 26 edition), with the exception that it was necessary for me to omit some of the content of “The Bee” version due to Voices’ limit of 300 words instead of 500. Of the four sentences referenced earlier, one of them did not appear in Voices because of the word limitation, but for the three sentences that did appear in Voices, there were ZERO insertions of “I think” or “I believe” at the beginning of the correlating sentences that appeared in The Bee.

Was my free expression about how extreme our current Supreme Court is, and how some of the current Republican practices could possibly lead to the death of democracy unsettling? I can’t know for sure.

Mr Voket apologized for his edits to my letter, and committed to discontinuing the practice. I hope he stands by his word. If anyone else has had similar experiences as mine, I hope you speak up in order to further encourage Mr Voket to stand by his word.

Mr Voket’s response to my opinion that The Bee is Republican leaning was two words, “You’re wrong.” My takeaway was that, to him, opinions are right or wrong. Silly me, I was always under the impression that opinions are personal thoughts based on observations, critical thinking, and experiences, not a profession of right or wrong, true or false, like facts. I hope you are reading exactly what I wrote. It fits within the 500 word limit. But ... can I be sure?

Connie Cooper

Sandy Hook

Editor’s Note: This letter was modified adding the word “Newtown” to the first sentence reference to The Bee. The writer declined to mention she was not previously aware of, and that she read and acknowledged the Letters policy posted at newtownbee.com, and in every print edition.

Comments
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3 comments
  1. qstorm says:

    If anything the Bee leans left.

  2. connie9876 says:

    Mr. Voket is incorrect about his assertion that I was not previously aware of, nor read or acknowledged the Letters policy. During a conversation on Monday, Nov. 14, I asked Mr. Voket why he inserted the words “I believe” and “I think” in my letters. He said that I wasn’t supposed to speak for the masses of people. I asked him to send me a link whereby The Newtown Bee can make changes to LTEs without the consent of the author. He referenced the Letter policy. I immediately said to him that I’ve read the Letter policy, which offered me an awareness that letters could be shortened to meet the word limitations, but I did not read anything about the editor’s right to make content edits.

  3. saxon9075 says:

    I think it is disingenuous to be ascribing Mr. Voket’s editing and The Bee to being a “Republican” trait. Surely there are well respected publications of the left, such as Pravda and the Socialist Workers Daily, that do the same thing.

    We can debate on editorial policies and permissions but resorting to an ad hominem, name calling attack on the Bee and Mr. Voket is less than honest.

    (edit) Please note my sarcasm in the opening paragraph. I am not implying that the writer is a Communist or socialist.

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