David Dunn-Rankin

One of my readers took me to task recently. This is what he said: 

“You should leave journalism to those with fire in their bellies; then you wouldn’t feel like a robot in a job you haven’t any real passion for, i.e., love of truth and justice, nor bona fides. Journalism’s a calling to rock the boat and wake-up the fools; which you clearly didn’t receive, as you haven’t any interest in speaking truth to power (its raison d’être). 

“You even go so far as to expressly prohibit, in your rag, the criticism of local monied powers and businesses; using the lame excuse that they can’t defend themselves, when they could easily write a rebuttal. 

“Whatta pathetic excuse of a newspaper and perversion of the 4th estate: designed to protect the public’s interests instead! Not only you, but all of mainstream media as well; and such perversion is now systemic and accepted by the uninformed public. 

“Who became that way due to unscrupulous owners of media companies like yours; which has led to our kleptocracy, and a nation of stupid fools, owned and run by evil thieves, scammers and conmen (Mammon). I know, you’re thinking: ‘tell me what you really think, ‘Ya’ gotta keep ‘em dumb and in the dark to rob them of $30 trillion’: as companies like yours enabled it and are to blame; and someday soon they’ll know it, along with widespread shame. You can count on it, for truth shall prevail: then fools will stand on their own and reap what they sowed and deserve. 

“As there’ll be nowhere to hide, and their ill-gotten gains and possessions will be worthless, as they’ve gained the world but lost their souls for eternity, as culturally warned time and again. Hurry sundown on their ilk! Worthless, soulless ‘businessmen,’ unethical, predatory idiots, and their henchmen, who don’t believe what I’m saying as they destroy the earth; who take advantage of their impoverished workforces, as well as other nations, and know no higher power than their own.” M.

Well M., I love all kinds of feedback from our readers – but especially those who call me out personally. Even with a “worthless, soulless, unethical predatory idiot … destroying the earth” label. 

M., I understand that you are frustrated that we do not allow letters to the editor in the paper that are critical of local businesses. We also do not run letters to the editor that are critical of local individuals who are not in the public arena. 

There are many forums for people who don’t like a business to complain publicly about that business: Glassdoor, Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Google, LinkedIn and so on. The same opportunity applies for complaints about individuals. There are many different avenues to disparage your neighbor publicly. 

The local newspaper is not one of them. First, unlike the unregulated internet world, newspapers are subject to libel and slander laws. 

You can say or write almost anything defamatory, or intentionally false on those platforms and the platform is not liable. If you write similar libelous comments in the paper – we are liable for publishing those comments. It’s a strange world that our government has created that your local newspaper is held to a higher standard than Google or Facebook. 

Secondly, I don’t like all the vile, disgusting, angry talk littering all the internet platforms. I don’t want to own a newspaper that garners readership because we create a forum for angry people to tear each other down. We are here to help build up the local communities we serve. 

I appreciate the implied compliment that a letter in the local paper in the community reaches many more people than Google or Facebook. I agree with you, which means newspapers have a higher level of responsibility to act appropriately.

Share your thoughts: David@D-R.Media.

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