The Policy Of The Advocate
It is unfortunate that the editor of the Gospel Advocate has adopted such a policy as expressed in the March 19 issue of that paper. I quote in part:
It is not the policy of the Gospel Advocate to print everything that is sent to its offices for publication ....
Nor do we profess to publish both sides of everything that may be a subject of discussion. We do not feel that we are obligated to furnish a medium for radicals and hobbyists to ventilate their hobbies, nor are we obligated to become an agency for the dissemination of error. It is not our remotest intention to give brotherhood publicity to every hobbyrider and his fancies. This does not mean, however, that there are not times and questions which merit full and free discussion. We are not disposed to profess to publish both sides of everything that comes up for attention, and then publish both sides only of those things that suit our peculiar purposes ....
No one, of course, would expect any paper to publish everything sent to its office. Neither would one demand that any paper furnish "a medium for radicals and hobbyists." But all of us have the right to demand a paper to present both sides of the questions that the paper itself raises in its own editorial pages. Then, too, there is an underlying attitude in the above statement that has an "uncertain sound" when compared to the Advocate's forensic past. The editor suggests that he is to determine what is truth and what is error. This is not the open policy practiced by the Advocate editors of yesteryear. The present editor may not have endorsed the statement of Brother Dorris, but he did publish it, and we pass it on to you so you might see how radically the Advocate has changed under the guidance of B. C. Goodpasture.
When error arises among brethren, which it often does, it is important to put it down through discussion now as it was in apostolic times. To eliminate discussion, even among ourselves, is to sanction error and turn it loose to ruin the churches. Lipscomb gained the victory over the society in the South by a constant fight down through the years in the Gospel Advocate. He held the pages of the Advocate open to discussion and in this way corrected error even among loyal brethren. He published articles from brethren containing error, and then corrected the error contained in them. This is a fine way to get truth before the public and overthrow error. (C. E. W. Dorris, Gospel Advocate, Feb. 19, 1953, p. 103)
I commend this fine statement of editorial policy in the Gospel Advocate to the editor himself! Men like Lipscomb made the Advocate what it now is. The present policy of the paper will make it what it ought not to be. Notice that Brother Lipscomb "held the pages of the Advocate open to discussion" and in this way "he corrected error." With this policy the readers were treated with enough respect to be permitted to determine for themselves what was truth and what was error. It is too much like Communism and Catholicism for an editor to serve as a censor for his reading public.
Many secular newspapers maintain higher standards of editorial fairness than does our leading brotherhood organ. Notice, for example, the policy of the Dallas News as expressed in an engraving in front of their new building:
Build the News upon the rock of truth and righteousness. Conduct it always upon the lines of fairness and integrity. Acknowledge the right of the people to get from the newspaper both sides of every important question. — G. B. Dealey, Founder.
Do you not think that a religious journal should at least equal a secular newspaper in giving "both sides"? I suggest that the Advocate not only erect a similar engraving but that it likewise return to the spirit of its pioneer editors and practice it!