Based on the February conservative roundtable and the half-editorial page dedication to Betty Thomas’ letters, it appears The Record has shamefully caved in to the unfounded complaints of conservative readers about its alleged left-wing bias. Such readers offer no evidence for their claims of liberal bias other than to assert them. I’ve been reading the Record for almost 20 years and have lived in cities with clearly liberal-leaning newspapers, such as the Los Angeles Times, and overtly right-leaning newspapers, such as the Cincinnati Enquirer. The Record is a politically moderate paper and presents a similar number of liberal and conservative columnists and letters to the editor.
The Record presumably began the relatively recent practice of identifying its columnists’ political positions in response to the conservative readership outcry of liberal bias, but this framing has oversimplified things. For example, the actions of the Trump administration have understandably led conservative columnists, such as George Will, to be critical of the Trump administration and his populism, which might lead readers to believe he is not a conservative. A different problem is that libertarians like John Stossel cannot be labeled “conservative” since libertarians believe that government should not interfere in either the economic or the social realms, which leads to libertarian support for minimally regulated capitalism but also support for gay rights, separation of church and state, and drug decriminalization. I think it best to leave out the simplistic political labels.
I can only wonder whether the conservative critics of The Record ultimately want a paper that predominantly prints columns and letters that reinforce their beliefs.
Lou Matz, Stockton
Opening Pandora’s box
Your decision to devote nearly an entire opinion page to the musings of Betty Thomas probably seemed like a good idea at the time, but maybe you should have considered it a bit more. Although I generally have no problem with Betty’s opinions, your decision to violate your own letter-writing policy may cause consternation among those who may disagree with her. If someone now starts to hammer out letter after letter with obvious liberal leanings and bombard your office with them, are they going to have their own “special day” on The Record opinion page? Just asking.
Robert Freggiaro, Stockton
More pro-Trump news wanted
Thank you for printing all of Betty Thomas’ letters in today’s Record. She was right on point with each issue she covered. There are lots of us loyal Record readers that are tired of all the anti-President Trump articles that fill your paper.
Pat Baglietto, Stockton
Your editorial in Sunday’s paper (“True community conversation requires listening and discussing”) missed the point that a lot of conservatives are trying to make. The problem isn’t that the news is fake, the problem is that the news is picked over to present only one side of the argument. Front-page news stories are replaced by an opinion, not labeled as such, critical of President Trump. This replacement of hard news by opinion on the front page is not just a one-off occurrence, it happens nearly every day. The opinion section of the paper presents an imbalance of columns written with the pro conservative point of view.
Slanted news, not fake, one-sided, not incorrect, is just as misleading.
Dave Graham Stockton
Making America great again
My wife complains because I routinely write critiques on The Record, which we have received for the past 12 years. I usually just scan, write a short blip near the headline, usually critical of the over-liberal perspective present everywhere within each paper, every single day ... without exception ... until today’s editorial page.
You may not know this, but by doing what you did with Betty K. Thomas did not go unnoticed. I have to question why you chose to do it, but for the very first time in 12 years, I say “Well done!”
I only scan, and will probably still just scan, but if you ever do “balance” your articles, you will have taken the first step toward bringing back America’s greatness.
I am aware this opinion page was heavily conservative, and one page over 12 years is not balanced, but it is a good start toward a better world.
George Kennady, Valley Springs
Teachers are qualified to carry a weapon
In response to a recent letter, “Teachers not qualified to shoot,” nothing could be further from the truth. While the statement “the average teacher is wired to nurture, not kill” is true, they are certainly adaptable. Just spend time in a classroom for a day, a week, a year and see. On the same hand, children are not sent to school to die. As a former policeman, I chose teaching as a second career. After Columbine and the massacre at our own Cleveland Elementary School, I made sure I kept my weapon near me at all times without telling anyone. Fortunately, I never had occasion to display my weapon in the classroom or at school. If an attack had occurred, I would have acted quickly and decisively to protect my students and myself, as I would my own family at home. I’ve known many teachers who would qualify to carry a weapon and do so safely. I’m sure you’ve heard many teachers who risked their lives and acted heroically without guns, including those at Cleveland Elementary. It would be naive to believe that no teachers across the country aren carrying weapons … just in case, and not just in Texas as the letter asserts. Teachers are usually not allowed to express their truths in a public forum such as this, but if they could, you would certainly be enlightened.
Danny T. Dunne, Stockton