OPINION—Editor’s Column: Yes, dear reader, opinions are biased

Image by John Hain from Pixabay


I warned y’all last week that our opinion section was about to heat up, and I attempted to explain our journalistic philosophy about what we include in the opinion section and why. For folks who actually read the print edition (or its digital counterpart), I think things were made clear. For folks who source their news from social media, chaos predictably ensued. There’s nothing like Facebook to turn otherwise pleasant, kind, loving humans into evil beasties. Thanks, Mr. Zuckerberg, for releasing the Kraken.

Anyway, the rhetoric is not going to cool off anytime in the next few weeks, so you’re forewarned.

via Gfycat

The controversial posts about fluoride and climate change have raised a question about what we publish. (And my own personal question about why no one is waxing poetic about the horrors of war, sickness, childhood poverty, or pernicious government corruption. Have we just come to accept those things as normal, and if so, what does that say about us as a society?)

Anyway, should the newspaper publish only what’s popular with the masses? Only what the editor agrees with? (It’s going to be a very small paper if that’s the case.) Should we print only what the local readership agrees with (I think that’s called pandering)? It’s my editorial opinion that the answer to those questions is a resounding “no.”

The opinion section of the newspaper is designed, on purpose, to be biased. It’s designed to allow people to air their opinions and let readers make their own judgment if that opinion is valid, questionable, or absurd.

The current series of opinion pieces about climate came as a response to a series of pieces we ran last year. The author asked why we never published anything from “the other side.” My response was that we hadn’t received anything from the other side. Now we have something.

Visit the links (on the original articles, the current articles, and the rebuttals) and check the sources. Use the brain you were blessed with and make your own determination, not based on someone else’s analysis, but based on data. It’s hard to argue with data, but people seem to find a way.

For an excellent explanation of the opinion section, please read the following editorial from the editor of the Moab Times-Independent, who summed it up succinctly: https://moabtimes.com/2020/01/09/how-dare-a-letter-writer-be-biased/