From the Editor
Grand County, CO Colorado
Whoever coined the term “silly season” when referring to election years obviously did so in more genteel times before our politics devolved into the nuclear exchanges and absolutism so prevalent these days.
But I’m not going to bother haranguing the chattering classes about civility. Far be it from me to harp about Marquess of Queensberry rules during an Ultimate Fighting Championship.
What I am going to do is remind readers about some of our policies as this silly season approaches full throat.
A quick perusal of today’s letters will reveal at least one that makes a common – and decidedly erroneous – assumption: namely, that because we run something on our opinion pages, we must agree with it. Of course, since we are part of the media, we are (take your pick) flaming liberals, heartless conservatives, Nazis, commies, socialists, fascists or worse.
Fact is, the staff of this newspaper is politically diverse. We engage in spirited debates about many issues.
As an institution, we adhere to the increasingly quaint notion that community newspaper opinion pages are a forum for the free exchange of ideas. Short of political opinions that call for criminal, immoral or unethical activity, we welcome all views: right, left, center, upside down, right-side up. Bring it on.
However, we do demand that contributors adhere to a few conditions:
• Letters to the editor must be accompanied by a verifiable name with information that allows us to contact the author. The information will not be published except upon request. A letter without a phone number or email address written by John Doe with nothing more than a PO Box is not going to see the light of day on these pages.
• We strongly urge letter-writers to trim letters to 400 words or less, preferably less. Occasionally, we will run guest opinions that are longer, but they will not run routinely and must merit the extra space.
• We will not run letters that are part of an organized letter-writing campaign and that all say the same thing. Our space is far too precious to waste on repetition.
• No last-minute surprises. In the final days leading up to elections, we will enforce well-publicized cutoff dates for commentary related to the election. If you miss the cutoff, save your entreaties for someone else.
• We reserve the right to edit everything that appears in this paper, without exception. If you insist that something run exactly as submitted, buy an ad.
• We will give candidates in the political races we cover the same opportunity to respond to the same set of questions under the same conditions and deadlines. If a candidate fails to respond, he or she will not get a second chance to stand apart from the crowd on a different publication day.
• We demand full disclosure of relationships with political campaigns. If a letter-writer is associated with a campaign, we believe readers are entitled to know that. If you write a letter without disclosing such a relationship and we find out about it, don’t be surprised when you become the subject of a story.
None of which is intended to discourage participation in our letters section; on the contrary, we wholeheartedly encourage it and consider letters to the editor the soul of a good opinion page. Please keep your letters coming.
It came to my attention this week that one of our regular columnists, Felicia Muftic, was a Grand County delegate for U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, who is seeking election to that seat in a heated primary contest against former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff.
Had we known about this connection previously, we would have insisted on full disclosure in all her columns that mentioned the race. We also would have been more circumspect about the content of those columns vis-a-vis the Bennet-Romanoff race.
– Drew can be reached at (970) 887-3334 ext. 19600 or at email@example.com
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