Move paper beyond superficial partisanship

June 10, 2004

Dear Editor:

I write today to address the blatant political partisanship gushing beyond the editorial section of your newspaper — and soiling the pages of purportedly unbiased pieces of newspaper reporting. While I have contemplated writing you regarding this issue many times in the recent past, temperance and a belief in the sound judgment of your staff prompted me to wait a while before taking this action.

There are several instances of a lapse of journalistic integrity that can be found in the pages of your newspaper each week. Recently, in your Sunday edition, the front-page story described in great detail the impact of the late President Ronald Reagan upon many local Republican leaders. I could not help but wonder why the story limited its focus to Republican leaders, especially since countless other newspaper and television broadcasts have shown world leaders from all sides of the political aisle praising Ronald Reagan for demonstrating through great conviction and courage his faith in America — and humankind.


Democrats may not have always agreed with President Reagan on the issues. But I think you will be hard-pressed to find a Democrat or Republican in these parts today who does not admire Ronald Reagan and mourn his passing with the utmost sincerity. Would not it have made for a more accurate piece of journalism to solicit such quotes from local political leaders representing all sides of the spectrum — rather than simply taking a narrow-minded approach of superficial partisan exclusivity? Doesn’t your approach demean the importance of such a great man to all of our society?

Secretary of State Colin Powell said in 1991 that, “the most effective means of ensuring the government’s accountability to the people is an aggressive, free, challenging, untrusting press.” Coverage decisions such as the one described above go directly to the heart of the unfortunate absence of many of these fundamental marks of a free press within your paper.

The editorial pages of a newspaper serve as a sort of parental lecture on your particular worldview. You may instruct the readership on the way you see things, and even beseech the readers to adopt such views as well. However, when you breach the very nature of a free press by perpetually insisting that these views carry over into sections of the paper that are designed to be rooted in balanced and fact-based reporting, you do a supreme disservice to the public whom your organization exists to inform.

I humbly suggest today that you pay more attention to the occurrence of these instances. Indeed, what could be a better way to honor the memory and cherish the legacy of a man who loved the principles and values of his country as dearly as Ronald Reagan did than by working to make our local newspaper more aggressive, free, challenging, and untrusting in all its reporting? As one reader of your paper, I thank you for any efforts that you can make towards achieving one of our nation’s most admirable ideals.

Jacob Martin


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