Last week, I wrote about letters. This week, I want to discuss the rest of the page.
As you might have noticed, the Opinion page is no longer anchored at the back of a section. Instead, it is floating within the Northwest section, and will continue to do so.
The reason is connected to other moves that have produced a beefed-up newspaper, more color and more pages able to handle late-breaking news. Also, the obituaries were moved from the Sports section to the Northwest section. It was never ideal to run them next to the box scores.
You might have also noticed some new op-ed writers, and might have missed, on occasion, the ones we regularly feature. This change will also continue as we adjust to a new era of politics. Love him or hate him, Donald Trump has upset the political dynamic, and that has posed a challenge to editorial page editors across the country.
Editors try to achieve some semblance of balance on their pages. One way to achieve that is to run a mix of columnists and cartoonists across the political spectrum. Problem is, our current lineup has been less than impressed with the new president. They weren’t always thrilled with him as a candidate either, but they still had Hillary Clinton to kick around.
Charles Krauthammer, who appears on Saturdays, spent eight years criticizing the actions of Barack Obama and Democrats in general. Trudy Rubin (Wednesdays) took the Obama administration to task many times over foreign policy matters. Kathleen Parker (Sundays) could be counted on for well-aimed barbs at Democrats and liberalism.
So far, they’ve all been critical of Trump. And when you add that to our other columnists, it makes for an unbalanced section. This is especially true when you consider that our letters to the editor are running heavily against Trump. Even conservative cartoonists Michael Ramirez and Lisa Benson have skewered him.
I’ve gotten calls for more balance, but I can’t run what I don’t have. If you want to see more letters praising and defending Trump and his policies, write them. If you like the GOP’s congressional agenda, pick an issue and comment on it. It’s always been the case that the party in power – and Republicans control all three federal branches – comes in for the most criticism, even in a fairly conservative area like the Inland Northwest.
Better still, we’d love more letters about local, regional and state issues. Those affect you as much or more than the tweets and actions of the president. Plus, local leaders will see those letters. This goes for guest columns, too. I have more Trump-related material than I can possibly use. You stand a better chance of being published if you write about a local issue, but please contact me first.
As for syndicated columns on national and international issues, it’s been a challenge finding pro-Trump pieces. Perhaps, as he settles in and pundits get a better sense of what his administration is trying to accomplish, that will change. When I do find them, I will run them. If I have to hold a regular column to do so, I will post it on The Spokesman-Review’s website under the Opinion section.
The fact is, more than 60 million Americans voted for Trump. This region’s voters favored him. So opinion pieces reflecting his positions ought to appear on the Opinion pages. So if you see new names, that’s why.
FAKE NEWS. We’re not printing generalized charges of “fake news” when letter writers don’t like articles. That term suggests intentionally falsified information. If you see an error, be specific. The newspaper runs corrections. Fake news outfits do not.
Opinion Editor Gary Crooks can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (509) 459-5026. Follow him on Twitter @GaryCrooks.