Question & answer
I write in response to Donna Myers’ Jan. 30 letter regarding the political leanings of the Trib opinion staff. While I don’t agree with her assessment that the Trib has been fair to both sides, as I feel the editorial page and a large part of the stories printed lean toward the left, I suggest a solution that I think would be fair to both sides and end this debate once and for all.
This past summer I vacationed in Tennessee and spent a few days in Chattanooga. While there, I read their local newspaper, the Chattanooga Times Free Press. This paper was formed by the union of the Chattanooga Times, which was liberal, and the Chattanooga Free Press, which was staunchly conservative. When the papers merged, editors of the new paper met in the middle. The Times Free Press has an editorial page that has a left-leaning slant and an editorial page that favors the right. Both editorial pages are side-by-side and print not only editorials from the paper’s staff but columnists and letters to the editor from both sides of the political spectrum: liberals on one page, conservatives on the other. That way, each side has its say and readers can examine both and make appropriate conclusions.
To keep things fair and balanced, I suggest the Trib do the same. That way each side is equally represented. The Trib has been cutting content for several years. We have no editorial page on Mondays, the comics page has been shortened and the paper is not even printed in Waco anymore. It’s time we get more from our daily newspaper, and this would be a good place to start.
What do you say, Trib? How about meeting us, the readers, in the middle for a change instead of slanting to either direction?
Michael Welhausen, Waco
EDITOR’S NOTE: Thanks for your letter, though our staffing situation at present precludes this intriguing possibility at the Trib and, we suspect, at most daily newspapers. (The Dallas Morning News just cut by half its daily opinion pages.) We also notice in Chattanooga what we regularly see among at least some Trib readers: a growing inability anymore to agree on what is even “conservative” and what is not. For instance, some say tax cuts are conservative. Others say it’s not at all conservative when funded through deficit spending, as a 2018 U.S. Treasury report makes clear of Republican tax cuts signed into law in 2017. Another example: Are miles of border wall a conservative tenet if it means invoking eminent domain and running roughshod over private property rights in Texas, trampling another conservative tenet especially cherished in our rural stretches? You’ll get arguments both ways from people who all consider themselves conservative. We frequently run pro/con columns and pro/con letters on the same page. Last week we published two columns by prominent conservatives on President Trump’s State of the Union address. (Both have been conservative far longer than the president has been.) Incidentally, at one point, someone angrily suggested a third editorial page in the Chattanooga newspaper after a libertarian editorial stance dared show up on the sacrosanct “Republican” page. Oh, the horror!