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Saturday, May 12, 2007

My latest letter to the News & Record: ban political labels from the op-ed page

Here's the link to my latest letter to the editor of the News & Record. I had a wonderful conversation with Becky Layton in the editorial department a few days ago when she called to verify that I wrote this (standard procedure for letters to be published) and I said then that I'm very serious about this suggestion. The News & Record staff had a great idea when they started encouraging blogging and commenting on op-ed pieces. Now here's a chance to take it way on past the next level: ban all political labels, like "Democrat" and "Republican", "conservative" and "liberal", "right wing/left wing" etc.

Some will say that this will drastically limit the amount of material for the op-ed pages. No doubt that's true. But it will encourage serious, engaging and even polite debate about real ideas, instead of the partisan bickering that has become so anemic. And there are plenty of writers out there who do pursue ideas instead of ideology.

Words are like tools, or weapons: they can be used for good and they can be used for evil. But they should always be used with consideration and forethought. And if the News & Record would actually do this, it would not only be raising the bar and expectations (which is always a good thing) but it would become a real leading light in the field of the news media.

Anyway, you can read the letter at the link above, and leave a comment if you feel so led.