Bring Back Jonesy's Voice and Let Both Sides Speak!
To: Management and Editors of Jackson Hole News & Guide:
The undersigned are current and former readers of JHN&G.
Current readers signing below believe there is a degree of reporting bias in JHN&G which excludes, distorts or diminishes the views of conservatives. Former readers signing below concluded that the reporting bias they perceived has not made it worthwhile to read your paper any more.
We expect a biased editorial point of view. You have the right to influence community opinion, whether we agree or not. We respect your right to run local opinion writers who express liberal views. However, other than Maury Jones, all your regular columnists lean liberal.
We are very unhappy to hear that you decided to discontinue Mr. Jones’ weekly column. Our one voice will be gone.
Reporting bias is a different matter. We see it and we do object. Over the years, examples of reporting bias (including slanted headlines) are too numerous to list. We think JHN&G reporters seldom seek out and fairly report non-liberal points of view on local and state issues.
From reactions to Mr. Jones’ columns, we can see that some of your readers are intolerant of conservative views. So be it. Like us, they are free to express their views in all ways protected by the Constitution and allowed by law.
We tend not to be as vocal. We are certainly not belligerent or hostile. If views contrary to ours appear in the paper, you won’t find us threatening you about them. But don’t fail to understand that our numbers are large. Your special status under the First Amendment carries with it the duty of a public trust. We ask for balance and fair treatment which is lacking now.
Considering our comments above, and as an indication that your paper is not intolerant of contrasting points of view, we ask you:
To open a routine channel for subscribers to point out reporting bias directly to JHN&G management (e.g. a staff intermediary or Ombudsman’s email address which we know will be seen and reviewed by management and generate a response to readers). A small group of us would be happy to meet with management to offer more detailed recommendations (we will be in touch with you after this petition has run for a week or two);
To continue to publish Mr. Jones’ column. He is the only conservative columnist in JHN&G. We aren’t asking that you limit or discontinue other local columnists – we usually disagree with them, but they are essential to the public discourse just as is Mr. Jones;
To create two “Guest Shot” (or similarly named) columns, one labeled “Conservative View” and the other labeled “Liberal View”, and run columns from each side whenever capable writers submit their comments requesting to be published in this feature of the JHN&G.