Really, I’m not. No, I mean it!
Regular readers may notice this isn’t the director’s cut of my Wednesday column, which is another rules column (naw, I’m not crazy ’bout ’em either). However, a few excerpts:
We get readers every once in a while who are upset that their letters haven’t run, or that they were edited (even the removal of an unnecessary comma). What that tells me is that people aren’t reading the policy box, or they believe the rules don’t apply to them.
Because, you know, rules restrict our freedom to infringe on the rights of others.
Most of the time, there’s no problem. But since no one can make everyone happy, there are always those who take issue with the way letters are chosen and edited. A typical complaint: How dare you edit my letter! You made me look like an idiot by putting “in my opinion” in there. Of course it’s my opinion! And you changed my numbers! You’re evil!
Hmmm. Well, I’m sorry that some are unhappy with the way their letters are edited. The intent is never to make someone look stupid; in fact, edits are made to make you look smarter, and most of the time are only slight. However, everyone gets edited, no matter who they are (me, too), if for no other reason than we are our own worst editors. Having someone read behind you is protection.
As far as “in my opinion,” the only time it’s been in letters in the last year or so has been when the letter-writer put it there. I have, however, added “I think” or “I believe” when necessary to differentiate opinion from a statement of fact. If you state, for example, that another letter-writer voted to elect a barnyard hen as Little Rock mayor when that letter-writer hasn’t said that and there is no proof that he did such a thing, you can’t state it as fact, so it would be necessary to make it clear that it’s your opinion, or edit it out.
I’m thinking a barnyard hen could probably do a better job than most of the yahoos in political office (and those pulling their strings).
As for me being evil, that’s usually only on alternate Thursdays; the rest of the time, not so much.
OK, so I lied. I sometimes am evil. The trick for other people is figuring out what Thursday it is.
There have been some very kind readers who’ve sent me notes of encouragement over the past year, and I truly appreciate all of you. I even cherish my critics because they challenge me to be better. I don’t always have the time I’d like to spend replying to those who send me personal letters, but rest assured, I enjoy hearing from you.
Sometimes a letter-writer asks a question that I think deserves an answer, even if just because it amuses me. Lloyd Henning of Hot Springs Village asked the other day if it was planned when all the letters on last Wednesday’s Voices page were from people with names starting with D.
The answer: Nope, it was just a weird/happy accident. I wish I could take credit for it. Sometimes these things just happen and all you can do is laugh.
That’s good advice for most things, really.
Yeah, ya know, like when someone pulls the “Can’t we just get along card” while attacking someone else, never noticing the irony of that position.
Or when partisans pull out the same tired (usually thoroughly debunked) arguments and attack their opponents rather than their arguments. Tiresome, yes, but it can be hilarious when the sputtering starts.
And the newest Benghazi dust-up? Not the scandal some are making it out to be, nor has CBS not been covering the Ben Rhodes email, despite reports to the contrary from, where else, right-wing sources. Newsbusters did note that while NBC and ABC “ignored” the story when it first came out, CBS reported on it. The next day, of course, Newsbusters decried CBS’ having “moved on.” The day after that, they had a report that said CBS “finally” noticed the email story.
This is one of the worst effects of the 24-hour news cycle paired with gleefully partisan media sources (no matter how “fair and balanced” they may claim to be): With 24 hours of programming to fill with what once would fill a half-hour to hour-long newscast, minor stories and nonstories have been elevated to a status sometimes higher than real news. Cliven Bundy? Not worthy of continuing national news coverage (local only, if at all), no matter how hard Fox tried. (While we’re at it, stop co-opting “patriot.” These idiots are far from it.)
The Oxford dictionary defines “news” this way:
Newly received or noteworthy information, especially about recent or important events.
Well, that implies that relentlessly rehashed stories that add little or no new information are not news.
But I guess if you’re hopelessly partisan, anything that makes the other side look bad is news, no matter how strained it may be, so if you dare not report the lack of new developments and instead report actual news, you’re obviously implicit in trying to cover up whatever scandal, real or imagined, is affecting the opponent of partisans.
And we all need yet another expensive investigation on the tragedy in Benghazi. There just haven’t been enough of those. Please, waste more money on this stuff while blaming the other side for spending like crazy.
Wake me up when they open an investigation into why these people seem to think doing the same thing over and over does anything useful besides pad lawyers’ bottom line.