Wednesday, August 31, 2005

A Question

A few weeks ago, the N-S's Leo Morris (along with his blogging counterpart at the JG, Tracy Warner) declared that he wasn't going to publish any more letters to the editor about Dr. Hal Atkinson's proposed Empire State Building replica office because Atkinson had started a contest (with a $100 prize) for those willing to write letters to the editor about the project.

It's worth noting, I think, because of a letter Leo published today from one of his readers. Here it is:
Gov. Mitch Daniels and his administration have accomplished remarkable change in Indiana in six short months. Any Hoosier curious about what is different after a few brief months of Mitch’s leadership should check out the “Performance Report” at www.in.gov/gov .

The site provides a summary of cost-cutting initiatives and is supported by detailed descriptions. The material is presented factually, without political spin. Daniels “interviewed” for the job of governor, asserting that he would eliminate waste and fraud, increase government efficiency and stimulate job growth. Department by department, agency by agency, Mitch is getting the job done. Indiana’s future is growing brighter every day!

Matthew G. Kelty
Kelty certainly has a right to experss his opinion, but does the N-S have any obligation to put Kelty's letter in context by providing some background information on him, as Craig did over at Reverent and Free on Sunday when the same letter was published in the News-Sun?
Seems Kelty has more than a passing interest in politics and the Republican party. In 2002 he ran on the GOP ticket for the 81st District House Seat. According to the board of elections he damn near won. So maybe Kelty isn't your average citizen seeking to inform the public about the accomplishments of our new Governor. Maybe Kelty is a former politician seeking to promote the Indiana GOP on the pages of local news publications, without disclosing his close ties to the Indiana Republican Party.

He probably didn't think it was important to mention the fact that during the 2002 election he received $5000 from House Republican Campaign Committee of Indiana.
I'm not saying that Morris shouldn't have published Kelty's letter; perhaps he thought that people would recognize his name as the letter writer and recall his political history. But does Morris have an obligation to provide some context in case the readers don't?

(I'm asking. Seriously.)

UPDATE: I've thought about this (as well as read the reader comments) and I've decided that it's not something to get outraged about. It's not like the editorial page editor can research the background of everyone who writes a letter to the editor. Plus, I didn't find anything objectionable in Kelty's letter -- you either agree with his assessment of Daniels or you don't.



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