The Lincoln County News strives to offer all sides a chance to voice their opinions. In all aspects of the company, editorial, publishing, and advertising, we work hard to prevent our personal political views from affecting the content of the paper. Our policy has been to accept advertisements, allowing any view to be represented without censorship. We felt that by not accepting advertisements, we would be controlling the discussion and possibly allowing our personal views to affect the content of the paper.
All political advertisements have the words “POLITICAL ADVERTISING” above the advertisement and a disclaimer stating who paid for it with contact information. This informs the reader that the content is not endorsed and does not represent the view of the newspaper. The advertisement is paid for by the party disclosed within the advertisement. Complaints or encouragements should be addressed to the person or group that paid for the advertisement.
A recent political advertisement has brought questions on why it ran and whether the LCN needs stronger guidelines for accepting advertisements.
We have determined that negative advertisements do not conform to the standards that our readers expect from the newspaper or that we want to hold ourselves to. As such, starting next week, we will reject advertisements that contain any of the following:
• Attacks solely meant to discredit a political candidate
• Claims of statements made by political candidates without attribution to a specific source, or with attribution to a source that proves noncredible
• Manipulations of images or data to discredit a candidate or question
• Information prohibited from regular advertising
With these new guidelines, we can treat all sides fairly and have criteria on which to reject certain types of advertising. It is not the intent to censor certain views, but to have them presented in a manner consistent with civil discourse. It will take all of us working together to correct the negative attack campaigns that have dominated the political process. This will only be accomplished when campaigns run with positivity have a more successful outcome.
On a related subject, despite efforts to promote civil and respectful dialogue in letters to the editor, many of the political letters submitted continue to be based on complaints, attacks, and negativity. This has been a long election cycle already, and we need a break.
We will be taking a break from political letters for one week, which will be the Oct. 1 edition. We will not publish any political letters next week, in hopes that the short moratorium will allow everyone to calm down and return with a more civil and positive tone. We still encourage you to write letters and will publish letters next week, but only those that do not address politics.