Gerald Archuleta of Okaloosa Island writes: “Our forefathers knew what they were doing when they included a free press in the First Amendment. Let's appreciate it, even if we disagree with it.”

Letter writer Jim Simpson very eloquently described the foundation and importance of the free press we enjoy in the USA. He quoted the First Amendment, which mandates that "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press ..."


From that point on, Mr. Simpson went off the rails, claiming that today's press "has self-destructed into a shadow of its former self." He said the press has become an agent of the liberal agenda.


Mr. Simpson misses the point of a free press. It would not be a free press if writers could not express their opinions, pro or con on any subject.


Much has changed since the Bill of Rights was ratified in 1791. We now have radio and television and the Internet, and commentators from all sides of the political spectrum. From my observation, the conservative right is well represented by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingram, and others.


Mr. Simpson also fails to draw a distinction between news reporting and commentary. A news reporter takes pride in presenting the facts, oftentimes facing a strict deadline. If part of the news story is in error, the news outlet runs a correction.


What are the news media to do when someone like President Trump says on TV that he will build a wall around Colorado, which is 370 miles from the Mexican border? Should they report it, knowing it was a lie? The President later said he was joking, but nobody laughed.


One great advantage of a free country is that we can listen to and read conservative or liberal viewpoints, and draw our own conclusions. Yes, oftentimes those viewpoints are extreme, but they, too, are protected by the First Amendment.


Our forefathers knew what they were doing when they included a free press in the First Amendment. Let's appreciate it, even if we disagree with it.


Gerald Archuleta, Okaloosa Island