Editor’s Column: Opinions are like ___?

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Fill in the blank. The point is, everybody’s got one. I usually use noses, although other body parts might be

Niki Turner
more apropos. The technical definition of an opinion is “a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.”
In 1275 British monarchs established De Scandalis Magnatum, which prohibited the distribution of “any false News or Tales, whereby discord, or occasion of discord or slander may grow between the King and his People, or the Great Men of the Realm.”
De Scandalis Magnatum may be the root of what our founding fathers had in mind when they penned the First Amendment. Pamphlets like Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” were considered sensationalist propaganda by British loyalists, yet became some of the most revered documents in our nation’s history
Perhaps whether some news is “false” depends on one’s perspective; or more accurately, on one’s opinion (remember, an opinion is a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge). To British loyalists that patriotic literature was full of lies and discord. To revolutionary patriots, those leaflets (distributed at risk of being tarred and feathered) were a reminder to why they were fighting for independence from authoritarian rule.
My genealogy research has unearthed both patriots and loyalists in my family’s colonial-era history. I can’t help but think my loyalist ancestors have been rolling in their graves for 200-plus years because they couldn’t separate the king’s loyalist propaganda from the truth. I don’t want to follow in their footsteps.