Newspapers aren’t all on that anti-Trump train

Published 9:30 am Thursday, July 12, 2018

A woman called into the Clemmons Courier office the other week madder than a wet hen.

She was angered by a political cartoon that mocked President Donald Trump. Just another ploy by the Democrat-loving, liberal news media to put public discourse against our President, she said.

It should’ve been pointed out to her that the Clemmons Courier – and the Davie County Enterprise Record – endorsed Donald Trump for President. So did thousands of other newspapers across the country. Many newspapers that normally make endorsements didn’t. They weren’t comfortable endorsing Clinton or Trump. It’s hard to get exact numbers, but I would bet that almost as many newspapers endorsed Trump as they did Clinton.

Donald Trump has made it his mission to demonize the news media, which, of course, I consider one of his greatest flaws. Sure, there are ones out there who can’t control their own opinions. If he’s referring to one of them, he should call them by name. Don’t call us all fake news. If a media outlet does something he doesn’t agree with, he should  point out that particular outlet and article or newscast instead of throwing us all into that big pot.

It has hit home more than that caller to the Courier.

I was ousted from a conversation about politics once because a woman said I was a member of the liberal news media. I hadn’t even given my opinion yet. I pointed out to her that the Enterprise and Courier did, in fact, endorse Donald Trump for President; and although it is none of your business, I may have voted for him, as well. She wasn’t swayed. “But you print letters to the editor from Democrats.”

She had me on that one. We do print letters from Democrats. And Republicans. And independents. And if they meet our qualifications (a reader of the newspaper), whatever political persuasion fits them.

That’s one of the things a newspaper does. We promote thinking about the issues. We let people express their own opinions without ridicule.

The political cartoon in question was put into the newspaper by someone who had just been given the job. I have no idea their political beliefs, nor do I care. At least in these two newspapers, political cartoons aren’t picked because they are pro this party or ideology or another one.  We don’t have an editorial board dictating which slant the cartoons will go. Our area managers and owners, scattered all over the Southeast, don’t dictate which political direction we should go.

We don’t have an editorial board at all.

When my opinion sneaks into this space, it’s not because the order came from someone else. It’s mine and mine alone. And I don’t expect you to change your opinion just because mine is different. Actually, I probably would worry about you if my opinion swayed yours every time.

Same with editorial cartoons. I pick them because they are relevant, easy to understand and make a point – whether I agree with it or not. We’re all in this together. Why can’t we respect another’s opinion and quit trying to pigeon-hole people into one camp or the other?

Quoting one of my favorite songwriters (Get used to this.), Paul Thorn: “Be careful what you believe in, you might be wrong.”

– Mike Barnhardt