(Editor's note: the following is a letter to Doug Bennett, CEO of Ballantine Communications, Inc.)
Dear Mr. Bennett,
The letter from Andrew Zeiler said it all loud and clear. (Times, Aug. 22, 2014) And he is by no means the only one who has noted, with considerable chagrin, the change of editorial policy (a.k.a. muzzling) at the Pine River times. Perhaps it would be useful to remind the new corporate entity at BCI who we are along the Pine River valley: We are ranchers, oil-field workers, casino workers, construction laborers, teachers, writers, artists, retirees - and gobs of ill-defined others.
We are Ute, Spanish, Anglo and what-not. We love our local environment but are mindful of its inevitable connections to regional, national and international networks. And while our politics often seems quaintly local, we know to our sorrow how well-plugged the Pine River Valley is - by choice or necessity -to state, national and international operators and issues. In this wired-in world where news is instantaneous and ubiquitous, we don't pretend to hide in our mountain redoubts.
Above all, we pride ourselves on being opinionated, and we like our hard-hitting local columnists to go after a wide range of targets, local and global. True, we seldom agree with each other. But we will fight tooth and nail for our opponents' right to disagree with us. Above all, we don't take kindly to faceless corporate entities condescending to us and trying to prescribe the range of topics and opinions we could be safely exposed to or entrusted with.
Frankly, we find the new BCI policy regarding what should qualify for publishable opinion in the Pine River Times rather insulting.
I hope y'all can find it in your corporate hearts to leave our paper the way it has always been. We happen to like it that way.