The voice of the people is an important one. Wait. No. That’s not right. Let me try again. People are dumb. No. Too strong. The voice of the people is time honored and should be carefully dispensed to support the greater good.
In the beginning paragraph, you heard three “opinions.” None of them were backed up by facts. None of them were particularly clever. None of them are really anything worthy of being dispensed to the masses. One of the toughest things about publishing a newspaper is publishing something that you have nothing to do with. You have a level of editorial control on what gets printed or goes out over the airwaves, but, for some reason, knuckleheaded editors love to include random pieces of feedback in their publications and broadcasts as well.
Why? It’s your paper. It’s your news broadcast. It’s your story about traffic cones. Why do you need to invite Johnny Squibbkick into your space when they don’t know your editorial process? Well, we saw why this week as the paper of record NOT named The Landmark decided to print a letter to the editor from someone not even in Kansas City that talked about how selfish a player Patrick Mahomes was. Yeah. That Patrick Mahomes. The letter, which will not be quoted here, wasn’t particularly well written, it contained no facts, it also did not reference any good works the Mahomes family has done in town. It was the equivalent of a truck stop scribbling that “Patrick Mahomes eats butts.”
And yet, The Star printed it. Now, listen. If you’ve got a good opinion that’s backed up by any sort of logical reasoning, it deserves to be heard. If you just want to be a doo doo head, then pal, save the ink.
This was a desperate plea for “HOT TAKE” journalism that Skip Bayless or Sean Hannity would be proud of. But what’s the harm? Well, the harm is two-fold. Without facts, there’s people out there who would believe it. Secondly, people who know the facts to be the opposite would lash out against the paper that printed it. And that’s what appeared to happen last week as my Twitter feed was full of outrage.
We shouldn’t knee-jerk and blow up the Letters to the Editor section. A couple of those letters have been complimentary of me. We should, however, make sure that we’re not just printing any piece of scribbled nonsense that Sally Slapstick can come up with backed by nothing but garbage. It’s an insult to garbage.
So let’s try my lede to my Letter to the Editor again…this time it needs to be peppy, and if not fact based, at least be clever.
The lede I’m trying to write here is that opinions are like belly buttons – everyone has one – but trust me, you don’t need to see most of them.
(Like it or not, Chris Kamler may occasionally show his belly button on Twitter as @TheFakeNed)