November 4, 2008 · 0 comments

So there was this letter to the editor today in our local newspaper.  I’m copying it here, because I thought it was interesting, and I wanted to comment on it. I left the title and author, since I found it right out there in the open online.  So in italicized, blue text, you will find my responses.  (It’s way easier than writing a letter back to the editor about a letter to the editor! And I don’t care enough about the actual person to write to her).

Presidential Election Letter: Non-endorsement embarrassing

by Mary Ann Moseley | Pinckney

Monday November 03, 2008, 2:00 PM

The Ann Arbor News staff should be embarrassed  by the fact that the newspaper did not endorse a candidate for president. (Why??) This election is perhaps one of the most historic elections in our country’s history. Record numbers of people are registered to vote, the youth of the country are once again involved and engaged, people are donating countless hours of their time to get the president of their choice elected. (Except for that first sentence, I can’t disagree with this)

Ann Arbor used to (be) known as an outspoken community that took stands on issues. It was in the forefront of politics.(yeah, locally). In more recent years it has acquired the reputation of being a provincial, cloistered, mundane community. Your lack of an endorsement certainly lends truth to that impression. (Not sure about this supposed reputation of “mundane” since I don’t live in Ann Arbor, but it doesn’t sound quite right to me.  And a lack of endorsement makes that more true? Huh.)

Not only was your editorial very poorly written, it sounded as if you received your information on the candidates from sound bites on Fox News. (I’m actually not sure what editorial she refers to, but…) This is a college community with so many intelligent minds residing here, and they expect more from their newspaper. (You mean that they are so intelligent that they need the newspaper to decide who they should vote for? Not a sign of intelligence in my eyes.) Your lack of a backbone to take some stand sends a message to youth that when they have a difficult decision to make, the lack of a decision is an option. (I think it actually sends a message to the youth (and everyone else who reads the paper) to make a decision of their own!! It tells them that they shouldn’t decide just based on who their favorite newspaper says they believe in And it discourages people from voting unless they feel very strongly about a candidate. (Um, NO. It encourages people to think for themselves, to do research, to find a candidate that they CAN feel strongly about!)

If you were worried that you would lose subscribers if you did not pick their candidate, then you underestimate your readers. Far more people will cancel their subscription because of your lack of endorsement and I will be the first to do so. (Really?  Really, you’re going to cancel your subscription to a newspaper because they won’t endorse one candidate over another? Hmm.  Well, here’s the thing.  Newspapers are supposed to be unbiased.  They are supposed to be impartial.  Newspapers, and other media, are supposed to be UNBIASED AND IMPARTIAL.  So for you to cancel your subscription because they didn’t pick either candidate is a bunch of bullshit.  You’re canceling your subscription because they stood up and stayed impartial.  They didn’t choose YOUR candidate and therefore influence other voters.

So let’s be honest, shall we? You wanted them to go against everything a good newspaper is supposed to stand for and pick.  Well, when newspaper editors start determining the outcome of the presidential election, I’ll be angry at them not choosing, but until then? Grow a brain and make a choice on your own.  Do your research and CHOOSE.  I don’t care who you pick, but pick.  And if you want to cancel your subscription, do it, but don’t blame a lack of endorsement.  And saying that more people would cancel because of that? Crap.

If I were the editor, I would wish you and your fellow cancelers a fond farewell. Other major newspapers, probably most other newspapers, have chosen a candidate to endorse.  And that probably influenced a lot of people – and personally, I think that’s wrong.  People should choose based on personal feelings, research, deep thoughts – not based on what a newspaper thinks, not based on who their friends think would be best or what way their parents vote. We have an amazing responsibility in this country to pick; to think it through and PICK.

So go ahead, cancel your subscription, pretend that the people of Ann Arbor and the students of U of M need the local newspaper to help them make a decision on who to vote for, but make sure you vote the way YOU want to, not the way some newspaper editors might want you to.

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