Stand by your policies, Xpress, not politicians

Shame on the Mountain Xpress for publishing the Oct.13 commentary in support of Heath Shuler! [“Why We Support Heath Shuler”]. Adhering to policy not to publish commentary endorsing an individual candidate has previously been a hallmark of distinction for the Mountain Xpress. That the editor would change his sound thinking merely because the authors are in possession of some kind of “status” in the community is foolish. Since when have these politician-authors become so high and mighty that we should prefer their thoughts and ways to ones we can discover for ourselves? Are they not flesh and blood, subject to error and fallacy like the rest of us?

No statements in the commentary contained breaking news. No issue commented upon was not already known. The so-called commentary consists of nothing more than an attempt by a group of local politicians to sanction approval for another one of their own. No surprise there.

I believe the Mountain Xpress has done a great disservice to its readers by publishing the commentary. First, that it would assume that we readers would lap up the authors’ every word because we are incapable of becoming educated and making decisions on our own. And second, it has elevated the status (and probably therefore the egos) of the authors, furthering a mistaken notion that they are somehow better, more informed and more important than the rest of us. In the big scheme of life, they are very small potatoes too.

— Betty Jackson
Asheville
Editor’s response: Several flesh-and-blood Xpress editors felt this piece was worth publishing, not as our endorsement but as food for thought. If six local elected officials had produced a fact-based piece supporting Miller, we would have run that too. Our goal is to encourage readers to make up their own minds about key issues.

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4 thoughts on “Stand by your policies, Xpress, not politicians

  1. Dan the independant

    Be careful, Xpress, or these rightwingers might curb-stomp you, like they did that poor woman in Indiana. I hope you don’t allow them to intimidate you.

  2. Dionysis

    What a bizarre letter.

    “Since when have these politician-authors become so high and mighty that we should prefer their thoughts and ways to ones we can discover for ourselves?”

    How does one “discover” their own thoughts without exposure to differing views? Tarot cards?

    “Are they not flesh and blood, subject to error and fallacy like the rest of us?”

    No. They’re all members of The Immortals.

    “it would assume that we readers would lap up the authors’ every word because we are incapable of becoming educated and making decisions on our own.”

    That may be your personal assumption, but most people understand that an endorsement represents the views of one person or group, which can be accepted or rejected by the reader.

    Would the letter-writer have taken umbrage if the MtXpress had published a similar endorsement of Miller by a third party group? We’ll never know, but based upon the tenor of the letter, the probable answer is ‘no’.

  3. Bert

    Elected officials publish op-eds in newspapers all the time. What’s the issue? If the Republicans could actually get someone elected in Asheville, then I’m sure the Express would publish an op-ed by them.

    Also, this is a newspaper with a wide liberal readership. And whether or not to vote for Heath Shuler is an important issue for liberals in this area right now. So this is a simple matter of publishing articles of interest to local readers.

  4. kanda

    I agree with Mountain Xpress and their decision to print this letter. If there had been another letter in support of Jeff Miller that would have been printed as well.

    Mountain Xpress continues its service to the Asheville community with distinction. Bravo MX!

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