The season of rebirth that it is, spring brings with it not only weather so maddening to cause the calmest of prognosticators to shave his or her head, but the desire to start anew in more ways than one.
In January, amidst a five-month period where your friendly weekly newspaper was essentially a two-person show, I (and only I, this was entirely my decision) relied a little too much on a certain columnist that some of you detest, some of you really detest, and some of you dig quite a bit, although a few of you do so in a clandestine, don’t-tell-my-neighbor-in-the-red-hat sort of way.
Well, that was not a good decision on my part.
However, an even worse decision would be to turn this space into the kind of place that only accepts majority viewpoints. Like it or not, the point of free speech is not only saying what you want, it’s hearing what you don’t want. Giving room to opposing viewpoints is as much a part of being a newspaper as the ink smudges and the occassional typo.
Yes, there are some risks attached to making room for unpopular viewpoints, like when the Seattle Times endorsed George W. Bush for president in 2000, and large swaths of liberal ol’ Puget Sound went bananas. Google “Seattle Times Endorses Bush 2000” if you don’t believe me.
But the risk of turning these two pages into echo chambers is greater. So, in the spirit of spring, and starting over, I have decided that the columnist that has so drawn the ire of legions in the Quincy Valley will continue to appear in this paper but only once or twice a month, tops.
Let it be known that I’m not trying to regain entry into anyone’s good graces by doing this. I’m just trying to make up for a bad decision of mine from last January. And before I go any further, I applaud the courage of those who expressed viewpoints in favor or against the columns in question through our Letters section.
And it’s not the only change coming to 305 Central. What are you gonna do? It’s spring.
For at least the duration of the current election season, we have stopped carrying the columns wrtten by U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse, at least until after the election is decided.
We don’t do endorsements here at the QVPR, and publishing his column could be understood as a tacit agreement with the viewpoints he espouses, at least during an election year. The only way to ameliorate this and still publish his column is to publish material from his opponent(s) at the same time. And so far there are six of them.
We are not going to do that.
We might help organize an actual live forum later on this year, but we are not going to turn these two pages into a barb-trading session between two or more candidates.
In addition, we are bringing back into the fold two tremendously talented cartoonists, Lisa Benson from the Washington Post, and Dan McConnell from the Wenatchee World, both espousing different viewpoints of the region and/or the world at large. It’s what a good opinion page ought to do, and what we strive to bring your way each week.
Just so there are no surprises, the agreement to bring back Ms. Benson (who was featured often in these pages back in the middle part of the last decade) is month-to-month, and it’s unclear how long it may last, given the Washington Post’s upcoming overhaul of their syndicated content.
(What are you going to do, it’s spring.)
Thanks for reading, and as always, go Jacks!
Sebastian Moraga is the editor of the Quincy Valley Post Register. He may be reached at email@example.com