Different opinions welcome on this page

Published 6:00 am Friday, April 4, 2003

I took a telephone call Wednesday morning that went likethis:

“I want to complain about something,” said the woman. “ThatCharley Reese article that was in the paper yesterday was the mostanti-American thing I’ve ever read.”

“Thank you for calling and letting me know,” I said. “Would youlike to write a letter to the editor and respond to it?”

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“No,” she said. “I want to cancel my subscription.”

She did.

Did she take the easy way out? I think so, and what did sheaccomplish by letting Mr. Reese’s comments go unanswered?Nothing.

Most of our readers probably didn’t like Mr. Reese’s columneither. I thought it was awful. The nationally-syndicated columnistwrote about President George W. Bush and the war in Iraq. Here’sthe part that really got me:

“There will be no honor in this victory. We have attacked andwill defeat a small country that doesn’t stand a chance.”

I don’t agree with that, but, of course, Charley Reese can writeit all day long if he so desires.

A victory in this war, which will free the people of Iraq fromthe demonic Saddam Hussein, will be everything that is honorable.That’s my opinion, and I can write it all day long if I sodesire.

I want to explain a little about our Opinion page, which runs aspage 4 every day the DAILY LEADER is published.

On Sundays, our editorial board will address specific local,state or national issues. The editorials are printed under the”Viewpoint” banner down the left side of the page. During the weekwe publish editorials from other newspapers, also under the”Viewpoint” banner. The name of the particular newspaper is printedat the end of the editorial.

What you’re reading now is a column, a commentary that carries awriter’s byline. We publish the views of several syndicatedcolumnists on the editorial page every day.

You’ll also see a cartoon. It, of course, expresses theviewpoint of the particular cartoonist.

Most days, on the left side under the Viewpoint, you’ll see abox with a black banner headline that says “Comments Are Welcome.”Under that are a few rules for writing a Letter to the Editor or aMy Turn column.

Letters to the Editor and My Turns are what we value most forour Opinion page, but unfortunately, we get fewer than we wouldlike. For some, I suppose, it’s easier to get mad than it is to putpen to paper.

The editorial page of any newspaper specifically sets asidespace for opinions, comments and an exchange of views. Most days,one of my job duties is to decide what is printed on the DAILYLEADER’s Opinion page. I read everything on the page, and I don’talways agree with all of it.

Is that a good enough reason not to publish a column or acartoon? Should I edit out the parts I don’t like? No, of coursenot.

To do so would really be anti-American.

Write to Nanette Laster at P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, Miss.39601, or send e-mail to news@dailyleader.com.