This page is dedicated to opinion. And during the political season, it is sometimes dedicated to some pretty vitriolic opinion. What we try to do is give readers a taste of both sides. When reading this page, however, please remember the columns and cartoons do not necessarily represent the views of those working for the paper, which are very diverse. Just because someone says something on this page, it is not an endorsement by this paper of that viewpoint.
So in Sunday’s edition, when a guest columnist speaks about a new film about the current president — a film that has been harshly criticized from both sides of the aisle — he has a right to speak his mind. That doesn’t mean the majority of the editorial staff agrees with it. It also doesn’t mean the newspaper endorses it.
So when the columnist states over and over how a vote for the president “would do great harm to [his] adorable little granddaughters and [his] country” and he doesn’t back up any of his claims with any hard evidence other than a film that has been seen more as right-wing propaganda — from a Republican Michael Moore if you will — then he should be allowed to state his views, if for no other reason than to allow people to judge him by his words.
If the columnist assumed in his piece that the Democratic Convention was “where lies and absurdities prevailed” but neglected to say that many exaggerations and outright falsehoods were also uttered at the Republican Convention, it’s his right. If he wants to cite his religion as well as Ayn Rand in the same column, it’s his right to conveniently forget that Rand despised religion and was a fervent atheist.
The best way to combat viewpoints that contradict your own is not to stop reading them. It’s not to turn your head. It’s to refute them with your own. Debate used to be what made this country great, but it is being lost in a sea of specialized news stations (we’re looking at you, Fox News and MSNBC), right and left wing web sites that allow true believers to do anything but hear the other side of an argument. Even the debates between President Obama and Mitt Romney will be “spun” so perfectly by each side that those not adept enough at looking through the rhetoric and see what is true about each candidate will be lost.
So if you loved the column on Sunday, let us know why. Back up your arguments with facts. If you hated it, don’t assume we only run columns we agree with. Don’t bury your head in the sand. Stand up and tell us why you hated it. We will run both sides. We are dedicated to giving all people a voice.