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Even top campaign officials like Eric Fehrnstrom, left, a Romney adviser, and David Plouffe, a senior White House adviser, foreground at right, insist at times on approval of their quotations. *Image and caption from The New York Times

I read an article last week in The New York Times that surprised and concerned me. I sipped my coffee in the lobby of our hotel in Alexandria last Monday and picked up the morning’s copy of The Times. Right there on the front page was the headline, “Latest Word on the Trail? I Take It Back.” That was enough to grab my attention.

The article shared that in today’s political climate, where everything and everyone seems to be so heated and ready to pounce, government and campaign press offices are requiring final approval of quotes before they are published. When I read this, I was stunned. Maybe I’m young and naive and too fresh out of journalism school, but aren’t journalists supposed to be the watch dogs of the American people? How can we possible know what’s really going on, when everything that we’re reading is censored?

Now before you get all emotional and blame this all on a single political party’s agenda, let me point out that offices on both sides of the aisle are requiring this. In fact, it is becoming so common that journalists have come to accept it. According to the article, “We don’t like the practice,” said Dean Baquet, managing editor for news at The New York Times. “We encourage our reporters to push back. Unfortunately this practice is becoming increasingly common, and maybe we have to push back harder.” How is this becoming so common? This completely violates our first amendment rights in every possible way.

A growing problem in the United States is lack of education. In addition to our failing education system is the adult population who clearly cannot think for themselves. There is an inability to think critically. People believe what they are told.

The American people cannot think critically about government policy or who they should vote for this November, if they aren’t receiving truthful information.

Am I the only one who is surprised by this? What do you think? Should this be allowed?