Editorial communication

Published Nov 11, 2012 at 04:00AM

On Nov. 4, John Costa justified the editorial board’s Oct. 28 endorsement of the Romney-Ryan ticket in the context of readers’ criticism regarding, arguably, the most contentious current women’s rights issue.

While acknowledging that it was never addressed in the endorsement, Costa’s diagnosis of the criticism was, “These are sincerely held views, but I don’t think they stand on solid ground.”

The justification seemed to be, “It’s just not the way the system works for editorial writers.”

The Bulletin’s unequivocal endorsement of the Romney-Ryan ticket contains the statement, “The philosophical divide between the two candidates is stark,” and then republishes the sound-bite and bumper-sticker slogans available from countless bloggers.

Frankly, the endorsement came across to me as a summary of self-justifying, partisan political statements conjured by for-hire political operatives. A much greater, healthier and respected local public service was achievable if the editorial staff had expanded its analysis, beyond the press-secretary releases, and up-to-the-minute polls, to issues avoided and questions not answered — by all candidates.

In default, readers reflexively fill in the blanks and make presumptions (putative “lack of solid ground”). It’s the subtle difference between a “sin of omission” and a “sin of commission,” rampant in political dialogue. It seems to me you are holding the readers to a higher standard than you are asking of yourselves and your collegial editorial writers. I am not suggesting that anyone on the editorial board should hold a different political or social opinion, only that communication of the decision-making presumptions and argumentation needs improvement.

Ron Knapp

Bend

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