Richard Greene

Writing brings some strong reader reaction

It’s past time that I should share some reader reaction to my weekly commentaries. Let’s get caught up.

You can join the discussion publicly by writing a letter to the editor or posting your comments via the Facebook opportunity found at the end of every column online.

If you prefer to do so in a private communication with me where you are not limited to word count or having your remarks edited in accordance with the Star-Telegram standards for publication, you can reach me via email.

That option is the one readers seem to like the best. I try to respond to all of them.

Regardless of the method you choose, I always welcome your viewpoints, and I will respect the privacy of writers who do not make their comments publicly.

As I have said in the past, when I share my mail it will likely be limited to those who disagree. It would be self-serving to do otherwise.

The most common criticism I receive is from readers who say I am biased. That is a correct observation.

I write as a voice from the conservative right of the political spectrum. My expressions appear on a page entitled “Opinion,” and readers should assume everything on that page to be biased.

Those whose expressions appear there are not news reporters and don’t hold themselves out as such.

It is unfortunate that some news stories appear elsewhere in newspapers and through electronic media that are slanted. They are not supposed to be biased — a violation of journalistic standards. That’s the job of columnists and other opinion writers.

Readers occasionally tell me I don’t defend views of others on issues, public policies and politicians.

That’s because I am usually addressing those who have already reported or opined from that perspective. They will do so again and again. I’m not interested in speaking for them.

Last week’s column on setting the record straight on the myth of President George W. Bush “lying” us into war is a good example. He didn’t, and my objective was to provide strong support for my view and not that of others, who are simply wrong when they say the country was deliberately misled by the president.

Whenever I address the liberal bias of the mainstream media, another favorite complaint comes from those who cite Fox News as prejudiced in favor of conservative views.

I will always defend the notion that there ought to be at least one national news organization that is not like the others.

Studies have consistently shown that news reporting from the major networks and high profile newspapers favor liberal policies, officeholders and candidates who promise a bigger government.

When I cited ABC commentator George Stephanopoulos as someone not trustworthy to analyze the news without favoritism toward the Democratic Party, I did so as an example of a practice that I believe characterizes way too many others like him.

I do have respect for those who identify themselves as opinion writers — such as Bob Ray Sanders, who has never relented in strong expressions of support for a larger role of government in the affairs of our society.

Bob Ray announced his retirement last week. Somehow I doubt that means we won’t hear from him again.

Count me among those who will welcome his thoughts any time and any place. While I may not agree with him, he is someone who has set a high standard for the rights of free expression in the forum of ideas.

Biased? Yes, and honorably so. Just like me and the others whose words appear in this space.

Richard Greene is a former Arlington mayor and served as an appointee of President George W. Bush as regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency.

mayorgreene@mayorgreene.com

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