Letter: PI shouldn’t publish Talbott’s column | PostIndependent.com

Letter: PI shouldn’t publish Talbott’s column

Ron Kokish
Carbondale

I agree with everything Ryan Ratkiewicz wrote about Ross Talbott (letters Nov. 28) and would point out that there is nothing new here. Others including myself, have written these things for years. Mr. Talbott is certainly an angry and misinformed individual. Sadly, his always-limited ability to reason seems to be deteriorating further with each column.

Still, Talbott himself deserves little blame. He has a right to speak his mind no matter how illogical and hateful his thoughts. But the Post Independent is ethically obliged to not publish his useless stream of consciousness as a column.

Publisher Michael Bennett and editor Randy Essex appear to be decent, thoughtful and practical people striving to produce a fair-minded newspaper that is relevant to their community. Mr. Talbott is likely a problem for them. He is a wealthy local patriarch (Mr. T’s, Appletree, Shadow Rock). Depriving him of his platform might cost the paper dearly. It might even cost one or both of them their jobs.

But continuing to publish Talbott’s poorly constructed, malevolent, misinformed and un-American rants hurts our whole community. It also suggests that Messrs. Essex and Bennett believe Talbott’s thoughts are worth as much public respect and consideration as those of James Kellogg, Mary Boland and Hal Sundin. I cannot believe they think that.

If I’m correct, continuing to publish Talbott’s column brings no shame to the wretched Mr. Talbott, who writes badly but honestly about what he truly believes. The shame belongs to Michael Bennett and Randy Essex for making decisions inconsistent with their personal and journalistic values in favor of protecting their jobs.

I realize I’m making some big (though reasonable) assumptions and I challenge the editor and publisher to state publicly whether and why, if the rich and influential Talbott were not already a longtime regular columnist they would or would not associate their newspaper with him at this time.

Editor’s note: The opinion page strives to provide a range of vigorous commentary through editorials, regular columns, guest opinions and letters to the editor. For those wishing to keep track, Mr. Kokish also disapproves of staffer Heidi Rice’s Fried Rice humor column, which does not appear on the opinion page, and enjoys Mary Boland’s monthly column.


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