Sunday, November 27, 2005

To Heck with the Sunday Tribune's editorial page.

Promises to the contrary, confusion and underachievement continue to be the orders of the day in the mysterious land known hereabouts as Tribune Editorial Page Injudiciously Determined (TEPID), as a mere three articles occupy Sunday’s "Opinions" area, each of them “guest” commentaries, and consequently none written by the newspaper’s own staff members.

Looking at the bright side, two of the three commentaries come from local writers.

Occupying the editorial slot is a “guest column” by Sister Barbara Ann Zeller, president of the Providence House for Children, who describes programs, goals and activities at her campus.

Just below the wire service cartoon is weekly “guest columnist” Terry Cummins’s consideration of “whether the male species should be exterminated,” which is rendered in his customarily humorous and thoughtful manner.

The last commentary on today’s Tribune editorial/opinion page is a bilious partisan embarrassment entitled, “Judicial activists trying to rewrite history,” and is attributed to “guest columnist” Peter W. Heck.

While it may seem at first glance innocuous – just another dazed fundamentalist crankcase like the Mullah Goebel hemorrhaging revisionist bilge as he advocates the establishment of genuine, American-style theocratic intolerance by casually misinterpreting our nation’s history – this glaring bit of Christian propaganda comes to Tribune readers from a professional agenda-setter, albeit one who resides somewhere in the wilds of red-state Indiana.

Peter W. Heck’s web site (, not as the Tribune inaccurately reckons it) trumpets Heck as the “The Voice of the Christian Conservative Right.”

Therein Heck asks, “What kind of God is the God of Christianity?”

Is He like the god of Islam who is so capricious and unpredictable? No. Is He like the god of the new age who is an impersonal force existing in the cosmos? No. Is He the god of the Deists who got bored with his creation and wandered off somewhere never to have further relationship with humankind? No ...

And so on. If the Tribune is looking for unabashedly evangelical tracts contributed by fanatics, certainly there’s a local like-minded minister who could contribute weekly calls to prayer, courtesy of CNHI … but wait; such advertisements already occupy two to three pages of the generally barren Saturday edition of the newspaper.

As befits a self-proclaimed voice of the right, politics dominate Heck’s list of recommended web links:

SEAN HANNITY - Get Hannitized--now more than ever.
RUSH LIMBAUGH - The best at what he does ... period.
HERITAGE FOUNDATION - Premiere conservative think tank.

Does anyone have a bucket?

Who at the ‘Bune do we have to thank for this veritable Watchtower of a commentary -- the previous editorial regime or the incoming reformers?

(We duly note that Chris Morris’s name is gone from the editorial/opinion masthead, replaced as “managing editor” by Shea Van Hoy, with whom we are unfamiliar. Chris is identified as “regional editor” on the Tribune’s page-four roster, and we confess to not knowing the implications of this change).

Taking it a step further, will equal column inches be afforded those in the community who favor a pluralistic, reason-based society in which freedom from Christianity is as viable and protected an option as prayer -- as opposed to the sort of cornpone Hoosier Inquisition favored by Heck and his ilk?

Might long-suffering readers – at least those who can read at a level beyond the elementary/Sunday school norm – please receive the priceless Christmas gift of an immediate delineation of the opinion page into separate editorial and opinion sections, with something approximating an editorial policy, and some semblance of balance to the Heckian extremism appearing in today’s newspaper?

Less than 30 days remain until Christmas, Mr. Tucker. Today was a step backwards.


Debbie H. said...

How interesting. I noticed the same thing in my Evening News. The guy I've been working with, Jim Nichols, is not listed in his usual spot as Associate Editor. But I'm not sure if Sunday's edition would be different for any reason, but I don't think so. He did tell me the last time I submitted my column that he "had a new boss" and I needed to submit my column to both of them.

But I'm trying to understand what you want from them. It's not particularly a rule, is it, for a newspaper to write their own editorials? Don't many of them, especially in small markets, hire out and let others, syndicated or not, write opinions? And now that newspapers such as our local ones are owned by bigger companies they would be less likely to have specific editorials from the local editors who are really only managing for the bigger entity, right?

And have you ever approached them and offered to write a column of your own? It sounds like that is what you would like to do.

Or do you want to start your own local paper? Or do you think the wave of the future is internet communications and you simply would like for all the 'bune readers to come and get their news from this blog?

The internet does seem to be taking over for paper news doesn't it?

The New Albanian said...

If nothing else, the proliferation of local blogs indicates that there are writers of talent lurking beneath the newspaper's traditional radar.

That sort of thing wouldn't be obvious to the stunted talents of previous 'Bune editors like Curt Vincent and Eddie LaDuke. Perhaps a change is in the offing.

I see no reason why even the smallest of local papers can't have an editorial board or something approximating it, and produce the majority of editorial content, columns and opinions from local sources.

The current, reformist management of the Tribune is headed in the right direction, and have made all the right noises, but Heckian claptrap like today's is very depressing.

Internet sources and news surely will become more important even than it is now, but there are a couple of generations who simply aren't going to become savvy to these.

They'll still read a newspaper, and if there's any hope for them to competently exercise the capabilities of choice that some among us persist in naively imaging they can be taught to do, the improved newspaper might be helpful for something other than advertisements.

jon faith said...

one could spend the day pondering the Doctor's Plot, if one were inclined. . .