Readers of the Longmont Times-Call might be interested to know that what they read on the Opinion Page is not always what was written by the author. Our guaranteed Freedom of Speech was intended to apply to government censorship. Over the years it has come to mean censorship by anyone. That’s stretching things a bit. Certainly privately owned and operated organizations have the right to determine was is or is not communicated under their names. But newspapers and other media?! Aren’t they supposed to be the Fourth Estate?
Certainly freedom of speech is not absolute. The much-used example of not been free to holler “fire” in a theatre applies. But come on Times-Call. There is nothing in the Letter to the Editor by Ann Kibbey that appeared in the Sunday Times-Call, September 9, 2012, that justifies censorship. And, indeed, it IS censorship. (Censored items italicized in the letter by Ann Kibbey, republished below.) The letter came in under the Times-Call limit of 300 words. So that’s not an excuse. It wasn’t obscene, a personal attack, etc.. All the contents were valid and fair game. So TC — here’s my question for you, “Did you take out parts you didn’t like because you like the targeted oil and gas industry and want to serve as its de facto public relations watch dog?”
We’ll be watching Times-Call — especially over the next two months leading up to the election on November 6. Here’s what will be watching for: Where’s your bias? And how are you displaying it?
Editor, Free Range Longmont
I support the ballot issue that would ban fracking in the city of Longmont, and also ban toxic waste pits within the city limits. There are way too many unknowns about the impact of fracking on ground water, on lakes, on the air we breathe and the food we eat. The industrial use of roads in residential areas will cause noise pollution as well as damage to the roads. The oil and gas companies are claiming that there aren’t any known dangers from fracking. Anyone who has seen movies like Gasland knows that this is not true. The oil companies, instead of doing the studies that are needed, just pretend that no studies are necessary. They equate absence of proof with proof of absence. This is not credible.
Importantly, the oil and gas companies have refused to make a complete disclosure to the public of the materials they will use in fracking. Since it is common knowledge that benzene, a chemical known to cause cancer, is being used in fracking, one can only wonder what chemicals are being concealed. The oil companies claim that they need to keep secrets for proprietary reasons. I find this impossible to believe. They obviously collude with each other in many ways to get what they want, and anyone who showed up at a drilling in progress would have easy access to the materials being used by another company. It seems, instead, that they just don’t want us to know all the chemicals being used. In the 1970s, radioactive material was used to generate explosions. Is this still being used? We need proof of absence, not absence of proof! We need full disclosure. Without it, a ban on fracking is the only reasonable course of action.
Ann Kibbey, Letter to the Times-Call Editor