Biased by definition: What do you think?
On a somewhat regular basis here at the newspaper, I get calls or e-mails that cover similar ground ” as in why did I allow a certain item appear in the pages of the Sierra Sun.
As I’ve written before in this space, the rant usually goes something like this: “How come ya let that conservative/liberal/religious/atheist article written by that idiot foul the newspaper?”
“We didn’t write an article about that,” I say.
“Yes you did,” says angry reader. “So-and-so, that blankety-blank, said it on Friday.”
That’s when the “ah ha” moment hits.
“Oh, that was a letter to the editor/guest column,” I say. “It was on the opinion page. It wasn’t an article written by our staff.”
“Yeah,” the reader says. “That one-sided, terribly written article. Why’d ya publish that?”
Well, some folks get it, others don’t. That’s when I try to give a thumb-nail version of what you are about to read.
As a former editor of mine once wrote, an opinion page is biased by definition. So unless a writer’s letter or guest column is filled with over-the-top vitriol or libelous statements, it will run. The piece may be terribly written, miss the mark on issues and be 100 percent opposite of your opinion. But our job as a community newspaper ” particularly on the opinion page ” isn’t to edit discourse, it is to encourage it.
And it is incredibly encouraging to see how quickly a misstatement or feeble stance in a letter or guest column gets corrected or clarified by another reader.
This is where you come in. This page is your place to let the rest of the community know what you think. All you have to do is get your thoughts into an e-mail and shoot them off to email@example.com. Just keep the over-the-top, caustic and libelous statements out of it, and more often than not, we’ll run it.
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