Just the other day an angry woman called me telling in not-so-nice words what she thought of Alan Guebert’s most recent “Farm and Food File” column as well as Tom Royer’s most recent “Land Minds” column. Both of these columns ran on our clearly labeled “Opinion” pages.

She said both of them were what comes out of the north end of a south-bound bull.

Guebert’s column was discussing the proposed credit bailout and what it may mean to Joe Average Taxpayer. He also highlighted bailouts of the past.

In Royer’s offering he discussed his fear of flying in small air craft, fear of swimming and the fear of his daughter reaching the age of driver’s training and beyond.

Back to the angry caller; her complaint was that both Guebert and Royer were biased and unfactual.

I pointed out that these pieces were placed on the “Opinion” pages and thus could be biased. She didn’t think such opinions should be in newspapers and magazines.

I finally got her down to the point where she basically didn’t like the bashing of Bush and Republicans, and she had the gall to say that she knew which way I leaned.

I asked, “you mean you think that I personally am a Democrat?”

“Yes, I know what you are,” she replied.

I said, “well thanks for pointing that out, but you are so very wrong.”

Then I said, “so it would be OK if we printed everything that you agreed with.”

She conceded that she wasn’t going to argue with me.

Which was good, because there was no way she was going to win.

She also proved to me her ignorance, especially in the reference to Royer’s column.

In his fourth paragraph, as he was setting the stage to discuss his fears, he wrote:

“Fear can be channeled en masse to impact an entire society — the Bush administration’s “war on terror” has frightened Americans into forsaking freedoms for supposed safety; fear of global warming has fueled what may very well be exaggerated concern over mankind’s impact on the planet — but it usually is a more personal, intimate matter.”

Angry woman took this as bash on Bush. I took it as her complete ignorance in trying to read complete sentences and entire stories.

This woman no longer wished to receive our paper. We always hate to lose readers, but I do prefer those who can follow a complete, rational train of thought.

Anytime a person tells me they know which way The Land, or myself, leans by what we print on our opinion pages they are barking up the wrong tree.

My philosophy of our opinion pages has always been that I will present or offer a forum for all points of view, regardless how silly or inane they may be. As long as a person is brave enough to sign their name to their submission and admit that they wish to have it printed, I will print their comments. That is, as long as they are not slandering or libeling anyone.

Our paper would be pretty thin if we printed only those items that I agreed with.

Posted by Kevin Schulz, The Land Editor

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