It’s always been the case that readers of this page may disagree with some of the opinions published, whether they be letters to the editor, columnists or the editorials we clearly label as the opinion of the newspaper. What’s become clearer in recent years is that there is a segment that doesn’t want to see anything they disagree with. In recent months, we’ve seen:
One reader expressed their dissatisfaction, saying we should never publish anything that’s critical of the president. In the past, they said, that would have been OK, but in today’s environment, it wasn’t acceptable. (We’re not sure why the rules have changed, but in that individual’s mind, that was the case.)
Another was angry we had a story about the July 4 event at which President Trump spoke at Mount Rushmore. That individual thought there should have also been a story about Joe Biden that day. (He hadn’t really done anything, that particular day, that warranted coverage.)
One other caller was upset by one point of view on the page, even though there was another column on the same page we’re sure the individual did agree with.
Then, of course, we had the wonderful call from a lady who said she was happy we still published opinions from both sides on the Opinion page.
In the early days of newspapers, they were highly partisan, advocating, even in their reporting, for or against a particular point of view. And, yes, there have been times when newspapers were “outed” for perceived bias in coverage. Sometimes, those criticisms were legitimate. Sometimes, they were just because they challenged the authority in power. But for the past 75 to 100 years or so, most respectable publications have efforted diligently to limit opinions to the opinion pages.
Call us “old school”, but that’s the way we think it should be. So, we thought we should make it clear where we stand on the issue.
This page strives to present a variety of opinions on a wide range of topics. Those may be in letters, columns, cartoons or editorials from other publications. Some we agree with, some we do not.
If it’s our opinion, it will be clearly labeled as “Our View”. Columnists have the author’s name, letters are verified by us to be authentic and the author’s name is published. The viewpoints of other newspapers are labeled “Another View”.
You see, dear reader, we believe one of the country’s greatest strengths is its ability to speak freely, express disparate viewpoints and still be united as one. We’ve always felt our readers are strong enough to appreciate opinions they agree with and that, even the ones they don’t like, provide the opportunity to consider an outside viewpoint. Such varying viewpoints may provide some bit of information the reader hadn’t thought about, and they may shift in some small way or gain an appreciation of the opposition they didn’t have before. Or, it may, upon consideration, validate their point of view.
This whole “freedom of speech” thing can be messy. Freedom of speech isn’t … if it’s limited to only a single side. And, we know it’s not absolute. Hate speech, the definition of which may be nebulous, shouldn’t be tolerated. But a different opinion should be celebrated and cherished.
We don’t want you to see only our opinion. That’s why we publish others. And we clearly label whose it is. That’s the way we think it should be. Otherwise, our society becomes more of a totalitarian state with government-run media. And that’s only advantageous to the party in power.