Everything you never wanted to know about letters
Ryan Summerlin January 16, 2014
Letters to the editor are the lifeblood of a community newspaper.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that from readers. I might add a few minor qualifications to this popular assertion, but I wholeheartedly agree that having a lively forum for reader ideas is a hugely important facet of a community newspaper.
So every time we run a column like this one in the space where we usually feature letters to the editor, I tend to land on the receiving end of criticism to this effect: Why are you running your lame column instead of letters from readers?
My short answer: We’re not.
It seems the majority of readers greatly prefer reading letters to the editor to writing them. So, we occasionally run out of them.
I find this curious, because I know with a high degree of certainty there is no shortage of opinions out there.
For instance, I recently received this: “I am also disappointed to see that you have nearly stopped all letters with political commentary. Used to enjoy the banter in letters to the editor. Political Correctness is putting duck [sic] tape on the mouths of those who do not agree with our elite cadre that now control the media. Please get back to the balance in letters and in reporting. The Post was my last hope in Colorado newspapers.”
While I appreciate the input, this reader couldn’t be more wrong about us “stopping” any sort of letters. Here’s a stone cold fact: During the past 10 months, this newspaper has run more than 99 percent of the letters to the editor sent to us. During that time, not one letter has been withheld because of its political content.
Of course, you can take that assertion for what it’s worth, coming as it does from a member of the leftist cabal that controls media worldwide, perhaps even across the galaxy. (Wouldn’t know; that’s above my pay grade.)
Speaking of the political left and right, in a previous column I hinted that during the years I have observed certain tendencies of conservatives and liberals with respect to the speech of others. In the interests of provoking everyone, I am now prepared to share.
Conservatives tend to perceive a conspiracy around every bend (reference the above note to yours truly) regardless of obvious facts to the contrary. Liberals tend to not merely object to certain voices, they want those voices silenced completely. (In other words, they won’t tolerate intolerance.)
These tendencies — note the word tendencies, it’s not all of you — might have something to do with one another. I can’t be sure, though, because lately we haven’t been running enough letters to the editor from either conservatives or liberals.
Keep those opinions coming.