By Scott Tibbs, September 26, 2017
Three weeks after I submitted my letter to the editor,I got an e-mail from the Herald-Times objecting to the following line: "Leftist terrorists violently attacked peaceful anti-abortion demonstrators in 2012 in Bloomington." They said they could not refer to the terrorists as terrorists. (This, of course, is absurd, which I will get into shortly.) So the line was changed to "Thugs attacked peaceful anti-abortion demonstrators in 2012 in Bloomington."
I consented to changing the word "terrorists" to "thugs" so the letter would be published. I did not consent to removing the word "Leftist" or "violently." I was not even notified that those words would be edited out until the letter was printed. I objected to the edits in the comments for my letter. Making a change I approved is one thing, but making additional changes is dishonest and dishonorable. Obviously, the people who were arrested for the assault in 2012 were Leftists (they were with Occupy Wall Street and disrupted the Rally for Life a few days earlier) and the assault was by definition "violent."
As to the word "terrorist:" Obviously this was an act of terrorism. Merriam-Webter defines terrorism as "violent or destructive acts (such as bombing) committed by groups in order to intimidate a population or government into granting their demands." Physically assaulting people engaged in lawful, peaceful protest because you do not like their message is by definition terrorism. There would have been no risk of libel or defamation had the Herald-Times printed my letter as written.
Obviously, the Herald-Times can print or not print whatever they want. They are simply wrong on the use of the word terrorism, though, and they were dishonest, dishonorable and cowardly to make further edits without my permission before publishing the edited letter. I should have been at least notified of the changes before the letter was printed.