Letter: Newspaper editorials don't agree with everyone
March 24, 2022
Regarding Simone Keevert’s March 17 “Threat to the Editor,” in the Green River Star, she is mostly wrong. Her complaint was that on February 24, the paper published a little editorial suggesting that it is “Time for Wyoming to get off the Trump train.” It was not signed because “Editorial Roundups” never are, including in one of America’s favorite and very conservative newspapers, The Wall Street Journal.
Such editorials are the collective result of well-informed opinion, as one might expect to find in a newsroom. In the case of the Star, we can be assured that anything labeled “Our View” has come from the desk of editor David Martin, and that he probably discussed it with his small staff. This is neither unusual or a secret. Nevertheless, perhaps Keevert has a point, and at The Star, it would probably be better if all articles had the primary authors names attached, but it’s their choice.
Regardless of the feelings of a very small number of people, such as Keevert, the piece ran as it should have. Sometimes editorials seem to have metaphorical teeth and claws and wield a sledgehammer, but get over it, because this is how it should be. Sometimes the truth is difficult to accept. A newspaper should not pander to a loud and obnoxious segment of its readership.
Being opposed to a filter-free press does not imply favoring censorship. Prior to the internet, getting something published was a pretty big deal, even a short letter to the editor. Many years ago, I can remember an editor handing my “perfect manifesto” back to me and telling me, point blank, “Fix the spelling and grammar, no one cares about your anger, research your subject much better, condense the whole thing and turn it into a comprehensible argument. You need to re-write this piece of crap if you want to be published in my paper.” I was devastated. Yet, I took his advice and that jerk published me.
Incidentally, though previously I was often published in The Rocket-Miner, and on Sweetwater Now, I can almost never be published there anymore because of people like Keevert marching into newsrooms and demanding that “lefty” writers like me not be published; that is censorship. Though David Martin and The Star do not always agree with me, they have usually been open minded enough to publish my opinions - if sometimes with an editorial disclaimer.
With the internet, unfortunately, “the monster in the newsroom,” the editor, just isn’t there. Because of news-for-profit and influence, news that panders to a particular audience is steadily replacing traditional and democratic newspapers. This has created news deserts, especially in small towns, and great divisiveness everywhere, and our democracy suffers for it. This in turn has allowed charlatan Donald Trump to occupy the White House for four terrible years, and it will be a long time till we recover.
It’s time for Wyoming to get off the Trump train.