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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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This weekend’s column: It’s not personal. It’s policy ...

This weekend’s column. And related reading. Consider and comment:

It’s not personal, only policy — George Pyle | The Salt Lake Tribune

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"It’s not personal, Sonny. It’s strictly business." — Michael Corleone, "The Godfather"

Over the past four years, the Our View editorials on this page have advocated for such things as stricter air quality rules, federal fiscal stimulus programs, tightened regulations on Wall Street, a more progressive tax structure, humane immigration policies that make special allowances for people brought here as small children and an end to the war in Iraq.

We held out a great deal of hope that the Affordable Care Act could be successful, arguing that Utah and other states should fully participate in its implementation rather than wage symbolic war against it.

Those are policy choices that were not always the most popular among many of our readers in conservative Utah. And those readers did not hesitate to tell us so, on the phone, in online comments and in letters to The Public Forum.

But those editorials did not garner worldwide attention and local disgust. They didn’t lead to requests from such major worldwide journalism players as the BBC and Al Jazeera to interview members of our staff. They didn’t touch off a slug of "cancel-my-subscription" letters.

No, all that had to wait for the Oct. 21 editorial endorsing the re-election of President Barack Obama. That’s the editorial that followed logically from the editorial positions we had taken over the whole of Obama’s term. And it was the first one that a great many people actually noticed. ...

Related:

A Vote for a President to Lead on Climate Change — Michael R. Bloomberg | Bloomberg View

... If the 1994 or 2003 version of Mitt Romney were running for president, I may well have voted for him because, like so many other independents, I have found the past four years to be, in a word, disappointing. ...

(Our sentiments exactly, Mr. Mayor)

As Bloomberg endorses Obama, a chance to reimagine media endorsements — Andrew Beaujon | The Poynter Institute

Change Newspapers Can Believe In: How Mitt Romney turned flip-flopping into a virtue. — David Weigel | Slate

... At least 21 newspapers that endorsed Barack Obama in 2008 have endorsed Mitt Romney in 2012. Half of these endorsements are couched in the hope that Romney hornswoggled Republican primary voters and will govern as a moderate. ...

Mitch McConnell and John Boehner’s strategy worked — Ezra Klein | The Washington Post

... In endorsement after endorsement, the basic argument is that President Obama hasn’t been able to persuade House or Senate Republicans to work with him. If Obama is reelected, it’s a safe bet that they’ll continue to refuse to work with him. So vote Romney! ...

Robert Vickers: ‘The wall of opinion and hard news’ fell long before he endorsed Romney — Poynter

... I have long been amused by the notion some hold that the media is intentionally biased. There’s hardly enough organization in a given newsroom to get a newspaper out each day, let alone conspire with some broader agenda. Now reporters and editors have opinions, but we are also trained to do our jobs factually. I think the bias label comes from people reacting badly to facts about their positions that aren’t flattering.

Newspaper endorsements flood in, but do voters care? — Josh Lederman | Associate Press, via Seattle Times

Why the Statesman Journal makes endorsements — Salem (Oregon) Statesman-Journal Editorial

... We want to stand up and be counted. We want all to know, whether they agree with us or not, that will we never be afraid to speak up and won’t remain silent. You can trust us to speak our mind.

Words and opinions by the thousands — Bob Davis | Anniston (Ala.) Star

... The best editorials, in my view, deliver an opinion that is less fist-pounding dictate and more persuasive prose. At their essence, editorials should make their reader consider something from a different point of view. ...

... Why, many ask, is the paper so out of step with the community’s conservative values? They are displeased by countervailing views and seem to want editorials that shift with the prevailing currents of public opinion. That’s not journalism, that’s marketing. Who could trust opinions that morphed according to the whims of the day? ...

Does Anyone Really Care About Newspaper Endorsements? — Doug Matacoins | Outside the Beltway

How Other Animals Choose Their Leaders — Rob Dunn | Slate

You think our elections are tough? Tell it to the wolves.



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