Saturday, February 20, 2010

Hypocrisy at the Arizona Daily Star

Dear Colonel Gent:

I read with interest your letter in the Arizona Daily Star on February 15, 2010. The best line in the letter is “When elected officials decline to take part in public discourse, one has to ask why.”

I looked on the net to perhaps find your e mail address and found your bio, which tells me you are a person to respect. Like many of the Republican Party, I support the military and veterans. This is not a partisan issue. This is an issue of national pride and responsibility. I am also a Daughter of the American Revolution and am proud of it.

I surmise we do have more goals in common. Since you serve on Representative Giffords Military Advisory Council, I surmise that you support the space program. To me the space program is too important to be a partisan issue. Many military people I have met also support the space program.

I also have a great interest in environmental issues and as a consequence, I have supported Representative Raul Grijalva in my district. Possibly you also have such interest in preserving the natural environment.

A noted Iraq War veteran and author in Arizona, State Representative Frank Antenori had the following to say when I requested a statement about the Arizona Daily Star’s editorial policy:

“The Arizona Daily Star's editorial board has clear bias and hidden agenda that distorts or filters information in an effort to influence public opinion in favor of their ideological beliefs. They offer no opposing views on their editorial pages and have consistently suppressed opposing views submitted by readers by refusing to print them. They are now truly living up to the words of Mark Twain, "Those that do not read the paper are uninformed, and those that do are misinformed."”

I believe that Mr. Antenori is correct. Apparently, nothing is more important than partisan politics to the editorial staff at the Star.

My own experiences with the ‘Reader Advocate’ Debbie Kornmiller did nothing to correct this assertation. Ms. Kornmiller has banned me from commenting online because my husband allegedly broke the terms of service while using his private e mail address. No complaints were made about my postings.

Ms. Kornmiller banned me because I am a Republican precinct committeeman who does not always agree with her personal choice of candidates. My blog explains my interests and opinions, if you would like to see what Ms. Kornmiller banned. A past president of the Pima County Republican Womens’ Club has felt ostracized because she was at odds with Ms. Kornmiller. Ms. Kornmiller has also ‘edited’ letters printed in the paper, receiving complaints. I attend several Republican political organizations and often the discussion turns to the biased editorial page of the Star. The problem appeared to escalate after the demise of the Tucson Citizen.

What does this have to do with elected officials declining to take part in public discourse? It has been suggested that the Star have more ‘conservative’ viewpoints represented in the opinion section. I support this idea.

I think what we have here is a breakdown of genuine bipartisanship, reflected in the stagnation of the legislative process. My problem with Ms. Kornmiller is a microcosm of the mentality that is preventing true public and private discourse. The lines of communication are cut. What the opinion page of the Star is offering is not public discourse, but is a heavily edited version of the truth as sifted for you. That’s probably why some decline to comment for the Star. They don’t deserve to be criticized for not answering the Star’s demand for a statement. There are other venues to reach the constituency.

A free flow of ideas is essential for democracy. I think that the key to future success in solving the problems of this country lies in bipartisan or antipartisan agreements. Important issues like the military, veterans affairs, forwarding the space program, health care payment system reform and other issues should generate bipartisan coalitions, but the lines of communication must remain open for this to occur.

I am disappointed in the Arizona Daily Star.

Dorothy Prater Niemi
LD 27