In a recent letter to the editor printed in the Juneau Empire, Larry Persily, the editorial page editor of the Anchorage Daily News, wrote that "there is nothing in the contract between the Anchorage Daily News and the Voice of the Times restricting the publication of letters critical of the Times."
In an e-mail, Mr. Persily describes the general rule of the Anchorage Daily News as follows: "As for accepting letters that refute something in the (Voice of the) Times, no, as a general rule, we do not accept such letters for publication."
According to Mr. Persily's letter to the editor, if an editorial comment met the following four criteria - "length, timeliness, civil tone and public interest" - that editorial could achieve publication in the Anchorage Daily News. Why then have a general rule which circumvents those criteria for editorial comment which refutes the Voice of the Times?
The contract between the Anchorage Daily News and the Voice of the Times is unique. What is also unique is a general rule to not print refutations of the Voice of the Times.
What is at issue is not the origin of the contract or of the general rules that the Anchorage Daily News has in place; the issue is the effect the existence of both have on the Alaskan people. Oil and gas issues remain of paramount significance to all Alaskans and all generations of Alaskans. The voice of Alaskans is equally as important as the Voice of the Times in the discussion of oil and gas issues. Why then do those who publish the paper with the widest circulation in the state have a general rule that in effect gives the Voice of the Times and their financial interests greater editorial access than the Alaskan people?
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