Who doesn’t like a pointedly written letter brimming with opinion?
They add the colour to the black and white pages of any newspaper with their wise and sometimes wacky wordage.
They’re fun to read, oftentimes because they’re not held to the same standard as reporters’ copy.
Regular letter writer Elvena Slump questions everyone. Whether you agree with her opinions or not, she is one of those people who brings the colour to newspapers.
Most recently she sharpened her written barbs and went after city staff members.
The people who Slump went after weren’t elected to their positions, and not really fair game. Newspapers stay away from personal attacks, but allow criticism of politicians and public figures.
But, Slump is entitled to an opinion which isn’t expected to be balanced like a news story, however, it should be fair and accurate.
The question is really whether it was appropriate for the letters to be published. That’s as far as this ethical conundrum should have been pondered, in our view.
The city, however, took a different position.
A letter accusing Slump of defamation was issued, and Slump, living up the feisty persona she’s created in the letters pages, fought back. She refused to apologize. She let her opinions fly.
What a ridiculous mess.
What was the city thinking? Sure, stick up for your employees, but will the city chase after every web troll and angry citizen until the end of time?
Given the recent rout in the courtroom with the Penticton Hospitality Association (an expected cost so far of over $100,000) is chasing after a senior citizen for an apology really worth it? Is it a waste of resources?
Here’s our free advice gleaned from years of fielding hateful and potentially slanderous material: Ignore it. Don’t get into a flame war.
There will always be bigger fish to fry.