The opinion piece by Empire Sunday editor Fern Chandonnet last Thursday was the most arrogant, destructive column I have ever seen in your paper. He purported to tell us what "really" happened in the presidential election. His reality was more akin to the hysterical rantings one reads in anonymous online weblogs or hears from Randi Rhodes on Air America - not from a local editor of a small-town newspaper - especially after the election. The angry venom, the spite, was so extreme I could visualize rabid foam in the corners of his mouth, and dry spittle flecks on the front of his cardigan sweater. This wasn't the work of someone trying to persuade. It was the raving of a frustrated loser. In case someone missed his point, anyone that didn't vote like Fern (read: the majority) is a selfish capitalist, or a reactionary imbecile.
So much is now clarified in my mind. In the past year or two I've wondered why biased "news" articles that editorialize as much as report have been so prominent in our local paper - especially those culled from the New York Times or the Los Angeles Times. Read them closely. Then compare them to reporting from other sources, especially other local Southeast papers, such as Ketchikan Daily News, or Sitka Sentinel, which I also read daily. I find the national reporting in those papers much less biased and much more even-handed. Now I understand why. Our local paper is being skewed by someone of such arrogant extremism that he spews his rantings after the election just to make sure that we all know that he is more intelligent and politically clairvoyant than the rest of us. I defy the Empire to try and convince any clear-thinking person that an editor spewing Fern's bile could possibly edit news in an unbiased, truly professional manner.
In some respects I'm grateful to know the reason for the recent, poor quality of our local paper, because I have truly been puzzled. I have always considered our local paper as a relatively unbiased source of news - after all, the reality is this is a little burg and we are all close neighbors. I love my community, I value diversity of opinion, but realize that this paper can never be trusted - not with an editor like Fern. Prove we should ever take your reporting seriously again. Otherwise, I throw the "A" section away, and go straight to the local sports - or better yet, I think I'll just stick with Capital City Weekly.
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