Letter: News reporting vs. editorial — two different things

Posted 11/26/20

Surprised. That is the word I keep returning to after reading the letter to the editor by Donna DeLeo Bruno: “Response to Nov. 15 edition of the Phoenix.” The letter begins with the …

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Letter: News reporting vs. editorial — two different things

Posted

Surprised. That is the word I keep returning to after reading the letter to the editor by Donna DeLeo Bruno: “Response to Nov. 15 edition of the Phoenix.” The letter begins with the writer’s thoughts on a recent Phoenix editorial, the last line of which included the words: “we endorse him as the next president of the United States.”

The editorial endorsement described perceived attributes of President-Elect Joe Biden, which were said to contribute to his leadership potential.  Ms. DeLeo Bruno states that the editorial was based on opinion, not verifiable facts. I found this statement problematic.

The definition of an editorial from Merriam-Webster is: “a newspaper or magazine article that gives the opinions of the editors or publishers.” Surely, the writer is aware of this.

Another section of the letter spoke to propaganda research, which has concluded that repeated messages, which are not necessarily accurate, are self-reinforcing. This is certainly true and immensely concerning. We should all try to get our news from multiple, verifiable  sources.

As I continued to read the letter, I saw an accusation leveled at President-Elect Biden, in connection with his son, in the same paragraph that discusses the need to verify information. Surprised again, this time at the blatant contradiction of “facts” presented without credible evidence.

Facts require proof, opinions help us to reflect, and endorsements by newspaper editors have their time-honored tradition.

Barbara Byrnes Robinson
Bristol

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.