Reader: ‘I trust news from The Citizen, but not political opinions’

As a five-year citizen of Peachtree City, I frequently read your newspaper both in print form (usually on the front porch, Saturday morning while enjoying coffee) or online. I find your newspaper to be an excellent source for local news. When I hear of something happening I immediately go online to Thecitizen.com to verify the information, and I have confidence that your information is accurate. In fact, I can’t think of any major mistakes your newspaper made in the years I’ve been reading it.

However, your newspaper is politically biased. Your editorial page is unbalanced. The columns, editorials and cartoons never look at both sides of a political issue, only one side.

While many will make the argument that most of the media is biased, it still doesn’t make it right for journalists to present an issue from one side only. In fact, it’s entirely unprofessional.

The current idea in America that a right-leaning newspaper will compensate for a left-leaning newspaper is not only a false idea, but is very disingenuous and certainly cynical.

Journalists should report the news, unbiased. Then, in the editorial section of a newspaper, a political issue should be addressed with two opinions given, one from each side of the issue. This is the professional way journalists present their newspaper.

We all can make excuses for The Citizen by saying, “Well, look at CNN,” or, “Look at Fox” or, “Everyone is biased.”

These are not only tired excuses but lame excuses. Someone needs to set the right standard. I wish it was you, because you’re my local source for information and commentary. I trust you with the news. Please show me that I can trust you with political commentary.

The only television source I can think of that presents unbiased news is The News Hour with Jim Lehrer [on PBS]. They give the straight news each evening, and when they present commentary they always say, “and now for some commentary.” Then they bring in experts (rational and polite experts) from both sides.

They don’t push sensationalist, yellow-journalism like CNN, Fox and the other news organizations. They don’t shout, whine, or use terms like “lamestream media” or “feminazis” to get their point across.

Many people consider The News Hour to be boring and dry. I prefer to think of them as professional journalists who are rational, unbiased, and mature.

It really isn’t that complicated. Present the news. Present the commentary. Provide both sides of every story. Let the readers decide.

Mike Fairbanks

Peachtree City, Ga.

Frangipani
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Political Opinions are One-Sided

Yes, you are right, Mr. Fairbanks. The Citizen presents only one perspective of the political scene. Their purchase of syndicated columns from the right wing are fine if you think that way, but if not...The Citizen is not the paper for you. How unfortunate for many in Fayette County.

plainjane
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one last comment . . .

Only in a red, Bible Belt state like Georgia could you a sensible, civil letter like the one written by Mike Fairbanks stir up all this snarling. Yes, it's true that you can find whatever news you want, whenever you want it. You don't have to depend on your local paper for balanced editorials. But minds that are buckled down so tight seldom go searching out any opposing viewpoints. People like that perfer to stay in their own little corners, defending whatever idiocy has been pumped into their heads since childhood. There is little chance to grow up or engage in mature discourse.

Enjoy yourselves. I'm outta here.

bad_ptc
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The irony of it

“one last comment . . .” posted three times

NUK_1
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bad_ptc: Speaking of irony

In Haddix's long letter to the editor, the last paragraph/sentence simply states:

"It's time to move."

I'm thinking he's definitely right about that!

plainjane
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Well, Mr. Morgan

I'm glad you like your right-wing ghetto. I have lived in many places around the world and ten states within the USA and have never found myself in such a narrow-minded environment. Guess I should consider Boston or Madison next.

MajorMike
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plainjane

One can readily see why you have not found acceptance in all those different locations. Delta is ready when you are! Don't let the (proverbial) door hit you in the backside on the way out.

Spyglass
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Bless your heart...

From reading your comments, my Dad was right, you can't hide class, or lack thereof.

Robert W. Morgan
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Delta is ready when you are - plainjane

And now you may have Southwest to take you away from - what did you call us? A right-wing Ghetto? Are you serious plainjane? The reason they say "Right" wing is the simple fact that we are "Right" meaning correct and you dips are wrong. Hope that cleared it all up for you.

Again, get on a plane and leave us alone. We will send your Lenny Bruce albums, the lava lamp and your futon - just leave us an address. I'm guessing Seattle.

Courthouserules
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Morgan. Spy

As to a nut wing County and newspaper, there are those that are worse! The whole states of Arizona and Montana come to mind. Not far behind are south Atlanta, Phillie, sections of NYC, Detroit, Mr. Moore's home town, and West Virginia, and of course Alabama and MS! Some of those are left wing nuts.

Definition of "right" and "left" can only be defined as one side or the other of reason!

We also have the "leaning" people (one way or the other) who lean back and forth according to profit to be had.

We no longer have any non-polarized people or politicians.

Robert W. Morgan
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The AJC will deliver your kind of paper, Mr. Fairbanks

This has to be a joke or someone who moved here from Madison Wisconsin or Boston or Seattle. The News Hour with Jim Lehrer? Are you kidding me? Better than CNN and MSNBC, but not by much.

You are (if you are a real person) in Fayette County Georgia, after all. So is the newspaper. I read every bit of it every week.

TinCan
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RWM

You are (if you are a real person) in Fayette County Georgia, after all.

Bit of humor there Robert? How about living?

Robert W. Morgan
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Living is way overrated - can. Dead is the new cool,

I have all I need here blogging without recriminations of any kind.
Also, no need to eat, poop or drink and I can turn a deaf/dead ear to anyone who says different.

TinCan
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Well Morgan

I believe we have a bunch of bloggers that meet your criteria. Shoulders up anyway.

Spyglass
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Feel free to start your own FREE paper..

And put in it what you choose.

plainjane
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Balanced editorials

Thank you, Mike Fairbanks, for your good letter. The overwhelmingly right-wing, sensationalized opinions by "experts" that are featured in this newspaper do nothing to inform or educate or encourage independent thinking. We need some balance so that we can weigh issues and come to our own conclusions. And yes, I agree that the PBS Newshour is almost the only real news a person can find on television anymore. I worry for the coming generation that is exposed to so little factual and unbiased news.

NUK_1
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ever think people don't want "unbiased?"

One of the beautiful things about the net is you can get the news you want, when you want it, and how you want it, biases and all. People can choose whether they want "just the facts, ma'am" or want more. People can soak up all of Cynthia Tucker's tiresome spew or Jay Bookman's or watch every FOX talk show. Choices are great.

As far as The Citizen goes, why read editorials and similar if you don't like them? You can always read the local news and skip the rest...no one forces you to read opinions you don't wish to hear.

THe major TV networks failed miserably to deliver news that was "balanced and unbiased" but more importantly failed horribly in their choices of what was "news" and what wasn't many years ago and then the Internet and FOX came along and started destroying their empires. Now news networks will never be the same again.

Chris P. Bacon
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"Epistemic closure" at the local level

I am of the opinion that the Citizen is, like many conservative news organizations in America, slouching towards what libertarian Julian Sanchez refers to as "epistemic closure" (i.e. becoming "worryingly untethered from reality as the impetus to satisfy the demand for red meat overtakes any motivation to report accurately").

The subject of editorial bias at the Citizen surfaces on a fairly regular basis, with predictable responses that the Citizen is somehow a counterweight for those dastardly libruls Cynthia Tucker and Jay Bookman at the AJC (thanks Nuk! *grin*). I think it's worth noting that the AJC makes an effort to provide some conservative balance to its editorial pages. Jim Wooten comes to mind, as does the "new guy" Kyle Wingfield. The AJC provides a soapbox for libertarians such as Bob Barr and Neal Boortz.

You won't see such a diversity of opinion in the pages of the Citizen. Despite a county demograph that shows anywhere from 25% to 35% of the population voting the Democrat ticket at election time, publisher Cal Beverly has made a business decision to exclude them altogether from the editorial page. Of course, as a private business owner in America he has every right to do so! Also, I should point out while the Citizen does not showcase any non-conservative columns, neither do they shy away from printing liberal letters to the editor.

I prefer to liken the Citizen to the pre-Murdoch Wall Street Journal: generally solid news reporting tethered to laughably biased editorial commentary.

Observerofu
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Oh so true

People want to have their bias reinforced. A dissenting opinion is most often un-welcomed.