To the Editor:
Readers have long enjoyed — and should expect, and pay for, no less than — accurate, fact-based journalism from the Finger Lakes Times, which has rightly earned its many awards by the hard work of costly, boots-on-the ground reporting.
However, that expectation must not apply to readers’ letters. Facts are verifiable. Opinions are not. That’s why readers’ letters are run on FLT’s “Opinion Page,” and not in the news sections.
Kathleen McGrath’s complaint, in her letter of Oct. 7 — that the FLT should hold letter writers to the same standard of journalistic excellence that it expects of its own reporters — is misinformed. FLT’s opinion page is a public service, offered at no charge to letter writers. Readers, including Ms. McGrath, are encouraged to express their opinions. However, FLT’s editors are under no obligation to fact-check letters. Indeed, to do so would discourage public debate about controversial issues, which public service the opinion page, presumably, encourages.