It's a safe assumption that newspapers receive letters to the editor on a daily basis from people who disagree with government policies. There's also no doubt that some are incendiary, hurtful, racist, sexist, homophobic, etc, because, well, some people have those beliefs and aren't afraid to say so in a public forum.
But newspapers have differing standards for which letters actually make it into the paper. So, let's take a stab at guessing The Washington Times' standard. Here are snippets of letters that The Washington Times published, discussing the possible repeal of the ban on gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military.
From today's online paper, in which a reader argued that “homosexual orientation is contrary to human nature” :
Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates; and other so-called leaders are working to allow homosexuals to serve openly in the military. Even psychiatrist-commentator Charles Krauthammer is saying that the law forbidding homosexuals to serve in the military should be changed because social mores have changed. That is false.
Homosexual propaganda has prevailed, but the natural law has not changed. The homosexual orientation is contrary to human nature, just as blindness and deafness are distortions of the anatomy/physiology of mankind. Just because some women have children out of wedlock does not mean society gives up on marriage. When will our political and moral leaders bow to the moral law and use it to guide human nature?
And another from yesterday, in which a reader compared military officials who oppose “allow[ing] avowed homosexuals to become Marines” to German soldiers who opposed Hitler:
A small group of German officers opposed the loyalty oath to Hitler despite great political pressure. They courageously honored and respected the moral and institutional values they represented and knew to be right. We who are Marines are proud to see that our commandant has shown similar courage in the face of political pressure to allow avowed homosexuals to become Marines.
A cold chill shivers down the spines of men when they contemplate the physical acts of homosexual behavior. It is important the American people know that their Marines, and our commandant, have spine enough to notice and oppose this folly. I hope they will honor the many generations of Marines who sacrificed for American freedom and will remember to vote for and support those who will work to “keep our honor clean.”
Now, to be fair, some newspaper editors do opt to print objectionable letters because they either want to err on the side of inclusion, or they think it's necessary to show that some extreme views exist in the public discourse. For example, John Taylor, former president of the National Conference of Editorial Writers, told The Poynter Institute in 2003 that his paper elects to print some offensive letters because a “viewpoint that many find objectionable is a real viewpoint and it exists in the community. And we ought not to be asleep to that, because if you're asleep to those kinds of views, that's how they prosper.” But, he added, the opinion pages are “about presenting divergent points of view, a spectrum of views.”
Not so for the Times. Its letters fit right in with the homophobic rants that the Times' purportedly professional columnists like editor emeritus Wes Pruden and Frank Gaffney have published on the opinion pages since the first murmurs of repealing “don't ask, don't tell,” emerged. Media Matters has extensively documented the paper's history of anti-gay rhetoric, and since at least the beginning of this year, Times readers have been treated to nothing but opposition to the repeal of DADT on the Times opinion pages. If their readers want divergent beliefs on DADT, the opinion pages certainly aren't the place to see them.