With this issue, the current election is over — as far as election Letters to the Editor go.
It’s been rough — there’s a few gouges in my thick skin — but it comes with the territory.
Still, I deserve a raise.
Or at least combat pay.
Here are some statistics:
Number of letters received from Oct. 1 to Oct. 28: 156.
Number of letters about politics/election: 100.
Number of letters rejected: 8 (for being too long, possibly libelous or just plain nasty.)
Here are some behind-the-scenes statistics (taken from e-mails sent to me, but not intended for publication):
Number of times I was called a Republican: 50.
Number of times I was called a Democrat: 50.
Number of times I was called a bad name: 100.
OK, I exaggerated on that last one, but not by much.
A wise, old editor once told me that if people on both sides are angry at you, then you’re doing your job.
See? I deserve a raise.
One reader, frustrated that I wouldn’t publish his letter filled with nasty attacks on other writers, called me a “moron boy editor.” Well, he called me a few other things, but this is a family newspaper.
Another dissatisfied reader called me a “liberal college-educated brainwashed fool” while another called me a “sniveling commie conservative.”
Other adjectives that readers have used to describe me include “mindless,” “infantile,” “disgusting,” “dumb,” “arrogant” and “delusional.”
Again, I deserve a raise.
Funny thing is, some of the people who treat me badly often vow to stop writing letters, but never do. One such writer threatened to stop writing in 2005, but a quick check of the Pilot’s archives show that he has submitted dozens of letters since.
And I, obviously a glutton for punishment, continue to publish them — well, some of them.
This election season, several writers accused me of not printing all the letters, or playing favorites. I wish that were true. My job would be much easier if I could just toss out letters I don’t personally agree with.
This accusation usually follows an issue in which most of the letters favor one particular candidate. It’s not my doing. We publish the letters on a first-come, first-served basis, so what you see in the paper is a reflection of the letters I receive. It’s that simple. There’s no conspiracy, no favoritism.
Some readers have accused me of being too liberal with the letters, publishing some that should have never seen the light of day. Indeed, there have been several that, in hindsight, shouldn’t have been published. It’s a judgement call.
Being the “moron boy editor” is not a position I take lightly. The job comes with many responsibilities and I try to be fair and try to encourage the broadest ranging discussion of community concerns without it becoming a cesspool of negativity and bitterness.
I think I’m doing a pretty good job.
Now, about that raise ...