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Letter: Critical speech, critical thinking are needed

To the editor,

Princeton University's recent Alumni Day featured 1965 alum and retired ABC News anchorman Charles Gibson.

Gibson's speech contained peripheral criticism of television news: "I worry in an age of hyper-competitiveness that many of my brethren do sensationalize. Viewers don't need countdown clocks. They don't need the word 'exclusive' slathered all over the screen. They don't need to be told every other minute that something is 'breaking news.'"

While focusing most of his attention on news media attacks, Gibson claimed the role of journalists in our political debates is "not up for debate." The role of news media is debatable, due to an agenda-driven press that not only reports the news but actively tries to shape it through disparity, framing, absence of objectivity and pre-meditated omission.

The 2018 March for Life in Washington is a prime example among many—400,000

Americans, including thousands of millennials, peacefully demonstrated their unwavering

support for our primary right, the right to life. Did we witness hours of wall-to-wall coverage by

major media during the event, or for the weeks that followed? No.

Did CNN broadcast a "town hall" featuring highly-praised and articulate pro-life millennials;

highlighting why their active involvement is paramount toward ending large-scale killing within

our culture of death? Sorry, not on the list of issue favorites for agenda-driven media.

To their credit, Forum Communications produced a Jan. 27 regional feature titled "Theme

hits home with March for Life pilgrims." National information gatekeepers should take notice.

Criticism of press performance does not advocate an end to freedom of the press and a repeal of the First Amendment. Criticism is freedom of speech and extends to individuals advocating

disbelief in an ideologically committed press corps. A "free press" includes talk radio-television

hosts and bloggers who embrace socialist manifestoes and those that don't.

Ineffective persuasion does not justify the suffocation of free speech. Protected speech is not

protection from speech.

Gibson's stated angst concerning press criticism reflects a nonsensical fear; critical speech may lead to an increase in critical thinking.

R.J. Ogaard