The Pilot has noticed an interesting trend in readers’ responses to some letters and opinion pieces we’ve recently published.
In most cases, concerned readers disagreed with the opinion stated in a letter — or its tone — and, therefore, we should not print such letters.
For example, a reader was displeased with the May 17 guest opinion entitled “Need new regulations for restaurant business.” The submission was submitted by a long-standing Brookings resident, clearly written tongue-in-cheek, offering a bit of brevity to a paper filled mostly with serious news.
“I don’t know why you would print a letter like that,” the reader said. “Some people in the community might be offended by it and I think you should do a better job of keeping letters like that out of the paper.”
Wow. Are we really so easily offended these days?
We’re sorry, but the opinion section is the prime form of democracy in the Pilot. It’s a place where all views — within reason — can be expressed.
The Pilot has long had a letter policy based on inclusion rather than exclusion. We might edit letters because of offensive speech, especially that which is racist, sexist, or otherwise mean-spirited, but we will err on the side of inclusion.
There’s great value in providing readers with opposing opinions, providing a notion of what others in our community are saying and thinking.
Some letters will, no doubt, offend some readers, but those readers have options: they can get over it or write a letter.
One thing we know, there is a self-correcting nature in our opinion pages where if someone goes too far, others will jump in and let the writer know.
And the Pilot will always foster this type of community discourse.