"Where Fillmore County News Comes First"
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One moment, please: Sizing me up...

Fri, Jun 26th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

It's become pretty apparent to me that people are trying to size me up, pondering how I'll approach political issues.

I have received e-mails, phone calls, and anonymous hand-written letters (with no return addresses on the envelopes) - and these are not love letters, I might add.

Is he a Democrat or Republican? What can we expect in the newspaper every week? Where does he stand on political issues?

In particular, I have found it interesting how people are still lingering around the subject of my decision to publish the Pat Shannan commentary on Obama's birth certificate verification.

As I have indicated twice in the FCJ now, the Pat Shannan commentary was submitted by Art Callanan, of Preston, with a request to be reprinted. If you have questions about that commentary, get in touch with Art.

I didn't write that commentary. If you want to know what I think, please read my commentary.

For those of you who don't know me, other than through your observation of the content of the newspaper during the past few months, I'm a regular guy who actually doesn't seek to stir the pot -- as some individuals have asserted.

I have a colorful past in dealing with the agendas of liberals, conservatives, liberatarians and various other special interest groups. From the daily and weekly newspapers where I was publisher, I was labeled many things based on stories we ran.

For those who are hoping to pigeon-hole me in one direction or another, here's how I view the way newspapers should be run.

As you look at the pie chart below, you'll notice some interesting statistics.

For the past four weeks, we have been running this reader poll on our homepage at www.fillmorecountyjournal.com.

The question was, "How do you vote in elections?"

Prior to sharing my observation of these figures, I will preface the results of this experiment with four disclaimers.

1) This web poll did not involve standard, scientific methodology with any measure of error and controlled sample group of participants.

2) Anyone who could access our website could vote on this web poll, so it may not completely reflect the entire opinions of all Fillmore County residents.

3) Any participants of this web poll were most likely brutally honest, since the voting process is completely anonymous.

4) It's a web poll. Nobody got elected here. If the results bother you that much, then turn the page and think about a happy place.

OK, so let's look at these numbers, ranked highest to lowest.

52% voted based on the candidate

24% voted Republican

20% voted Democrat

2% voted Independent (tied)

2% voted Other Party (tied)

Considering these figures, and the results of any national election, a little more than the majority of our population votes based on the candidate; not party lines.

I take all of these factors into consideration when determining the content of the newspaper to best represent the views of our region. We have a lot of people with opinions out there -- and they're all right. Just ask them!

I approach content and issues as situational. I will make my opinions known after I have had time to review the issue from all perspectives.

What I really like to do is hit the streets and stop off at the coffee shops and diners, and hear what people are talking about.

That's how I decided we should do the story on open enrollment in Fillmore County in today's FCJ.

There's a lot of speculation, and we strive to provide clarification.

These are the kind of enterprise stories that people are talking about, and that's what you can expect from the FCJ.

On another note, I'd like to share my thoughts regarding the many exchanges between individuals using the FCJ as a conduit to express their views.

In particular, I'd like to recognize Bonita Underbakke for her approach to the Pat Shannan commentary piece. She did it in a thoughtful and informative manner. She provided sources to discredit the claims made by Shannan, and she didn't make any personal attacks. I commend her for hopefully setting the bar for others.

Regardless of which side of the political fence you reside, I promise you we will publish some content you will love and support, and other content that may ruffle your feathers.

For the 20% who voted Democrat on the web poll, they should be happy to see an editorial cartoon pushing Republican buttons in the bottom left-hand corner of page 4 of today's FCJ. In addition, the 24% who voted Republican should be happy to know they will have their day, too. That's the way it's supposed to work, to be a fair and objective newspaper - bringing balance to the Universe.

And, to the 52%, the 20% and 24% express their opinions quite frequently, so don't be shy in expressing yours.

Regardless of your political sleep number, I'd love to hear from you.

I'm going to give you my personal cellular phone number so you can reach me any time.

It's 507-251-5297.

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