Saturday, January 13, 2007

A Letter to the Staunton Daily News Leader

This letter was recently sent to the editorial board of the Staunton Daily News Leader in Staunton, Virginia, and comes to PI via our inbox:

Dear Editorial Staff,

This one could be used in your letters section - that is, if you're not too worried to publish it.

While I have refrained entirely from posting on your forum due to the anti-Christian, pro-Islamist, libelous bullying and persistent name-calling that occurs there (and don't tell me this is false), I couldn't help but notice a developing, ongoing trend, and that is the overwhelming majority of your forum storychat article comments "Editorials" seems to be coming from a predominantly liberal view only.

Yet, at the bottom of each editorial, I see this:

"Opinions expressed in this feature represent the majority opinion of the newspaper's editorial board, consisting of: Roger Watson, president and publisher; David Fritz, executive editor; Cindy Corell, city editor; Jim McCloskey, editorial cartoonist; Dennis Neal, opinion page editor; and Macon Rich, production director."

My questions are, as follows:

1. From the list of names above, do you have any token conservative voices at your newspaper?
2. Are any or all of you from places like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Nantucket, Detroit, Charlottesville, Berkeley, or Cleveland?
3. Is this list comprised entirely of the leftist mindset?
4. If so, where are they, and why are they not offering any editorials? Are the token conservatives, if any, afraid to speak out in case they lose their jobs?
5. Does the Staunton Daily News Leader subscribe to the leftist point of view?

Just a personal observation from a reader that attempts to see opinion from both sides - but only sees ONE side coming from your newspaper. The newspaper's trend is going far to the left as well. I do not see much (if any) conservative views whatsoever. If they are there, they are instantly assassinated or probably rejected outright by knee-jerk, swift and cunningly obvious attacks from your liberal forum posters.

Advice? Follow the trendsetting, open, fair and balanced journalism practices of Chris and Crystal Graham of The New Dominion, where you would find a healthy blend of ALL opinions from the political spectrum. For far too long, your newspaper is taking a sliding trend toward one side. While my family spans the greater south end of the Shenandoah Valley, every single one of us has cancelled our subscriptions over the years, and I am getting similar feedback from others who live here in the valley - and that is just me, for example, in local spots like Wal-Mart, The Dixie Theater, downtown Waynesboro and Staunton - going up to people and asking their opinion about the Staunton Daily News Leader. The majority of whom I poll (non-scientific of course) are telling me the same story.

Just my opinion. Is the practice of defeating "fair and balanced" an adroit plot of the Staunton Daily News Leader here in Virginia?

Take all of this as constructive criticism. Again, observations.

John Rudolph


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