There is little chance the editors will publish this letter; nevertheless, I write one last time to express my dismay at the total absence of balance and objectivity on the Apopka Chief’s opinion pages courtesy of columnists Richard Corbeil and Patti Bankson. To be clear, the Constitution guarantees these two the freedom to express their opinions, likewise, the editors’ right to publish them. However, by limiting political commentary to a single ultra conservative perspective, the Chief’s editors subscribe to one of the worst trends (in my opinion) in the American news media’s coverage of politics. I refer to “advocacy journalism” and the practice of ‘singing to the choir’—i.e., featuring only political commentary that will feed or reinforce a largely sympathetic audience’s preconceived biases, prejudices, and hatreds. It is a practice that demonizes—and thus, alienates—anyone harboring a different perspective, and that circumvents or stifles critical thinking and constructive compromise.
Corbeil and Bankson are masterful choirmasters in this regard. Week after week they cherry pick “evidence” religiously stripped of context, nuance, and occasionally even accuracy in orchestrating their mean-spirited anti-Obama, anti-Islamic, anti-anything non-white-Tea-Party-Republican-Judeo/Christian-and/or-heterosexual rants.
Please understand, I appreciate and seek out multiple points of view—including those that swing wildly from my own—in the various publications that I follow. How else but by stepping outside one’s own echo chamber and considering the various sides of an issue can one hope to make informed judgments? Unfortunately, the Apopka Chief’s advocacy of an endless one-note racket (conducted always with sanctimonious Christian piety by Corbeil and Bankson) on its opinion pages bears no likeness to balanced, independent journalism.
The last straw for this reader has been columnist Corbeil’s repeated advocacy of a U.S. -waged nuclear war in the Middle East (his preferred solution to the scourge of ISIS) and his cavalier dismissal of the inevitable hundreds of thousands in collateral-damage deaths that would follow. Apparently Corbeil’s belief in the infallibility of “American Exceptionalism” (a phrase coined, incidentally, by Joseph Stalin and promulgated these days by political absurdities the likes of Sarah Palin and Bobby Jindal) is so extreme that he can easily justify those casualties. After all, most of the civilian victims would be Muslim, so no big deal!
Such jingoistic noise as this is unconscionable—so much so that I find I can no longer lend an ear to it, much less my support to the paper that publishes it to the near exclusion of any counter-balancing argument.
Please cancel my subscription to the Apopka Chief.
Author’s Note: While I do not usually air my political sympathies on this blog quite so blatantly as in this letter, my hometown newspaper’s egregious political bias has put me in a rare state—so much so that I couldn’t resist posting this early version of the letter I sent to the paper’s editors. A shortened version of the letter was published in the Apopka Chief (print edition) April 3, 2015.