Brent Boyer: Leaning to the left, then to the right


Brent Boyer

Contact Editor Brent Boyer at 871-4221 or e-mail

I received an e-mail this week from a local reader who didn't mince her words when suggesting the "left and far left" media did their best to put President-elect Barack Obama in the Oval Office.

I agree that the mainstream media exhibited an Obama bias throughout the campaign, but I took some exception to her assertion that the Steamboat Pilot & Today's ViewPoints pages lack balance - i.e., conservative columnists.

Regardless of an editor's personal political views, newspapers should publish opinion pieces penned by writers representing a range of ideologies. For each issue of the Pilot & Today, we try to select an op-ed piece from a liberal-leaning writer and one from a more conservative author. In today's paper, for example, we published the work of syndicated columnists Thomas Friedman (a moderate liberal) and David Brooks (a moderate conservative).

We subscribe to syndicated columnists from The New York Times News Service and Tribune Media Services. The "liberal" columnists in our lineup include Friedman, Paul Krugman, Nicholas Kristof, Clarence Page and Maureen Dowd. Our "conservative" columnists are Brooks, William Kristol, Cal Thomas, Jonah Goldberg and Ann Coulter.

On any given day, a glance at pages 8 and 9 of the Steamboat Today should show something from column A and something from column B. It doesn't always work out that way, but I believe a review of our ViewPoints pages during the past year would demonstrate a dedicated effort to provide balance and varying viewpoints for our readers.

We've attempted to provide the same range of opinions from local contributors. For more than a year, a small group of local conservatives led by Rick Akin have submitted Sunday op-ed pieces that we generally label as "Conservative commentary." It took awhile, but area Democrats have stepped up their effort of late and have begun to provide consistent Sunday columns to balance their neighbors on the right.

Of course, our left-leaning readers often point to the presence of Mallard Fillmore - the editorial cartoon with its evil duck - at the bottom of our ViewPoints pages as evidence of the newspaper's conservative bias. I won't - or can't - pretend that we provide the same type of balance when it comes to editorial cartoons, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't. Doonesbury is an obvious choice, but I'd like to hear from readers who have other suggestions for an editorial cartoon to provide some balance to the duck.

As always, I'm open to your comments and criticism. I can be reached at 970-871-4221 or


Neil O'Keeffe 8 years, 4 months ago

Get over it, don't people realize what just happend with this last election? The general public is sick and tired of left vs. right demagogery and that people operating from the extreme of either end have lost their voice (especially the right). A new generation of politics coming from the middle is under way, say goodbye to all the divisiveness and fear mongering. Maybe we can actually begin to accomplish something as a nation and world leader. Believe!


nikobesti 8 years, 4 months ago

When someone actually accuses the Pilot of being an Obama talking piece, it illustrates how the "liberal media" card is ridiculously over-played the right. It's now their blanket fail-safe excuse for denying the truth. Wouldn't it be so nice to just discount all information you don't like as "liberal media bias?"

Listen folks, sometimes this might be the case. I'm not going to argue every media outlet has been neutral. But when you play the "liberal media" card all the time, every time, you lose all your credibility and you diminish the real cases of media bias. You squawk so much no one is listening anymore; it's proving to be counter-productive to your cause. Never cry wolf; make sure your accusations of bias are well placed. It is most definitely not in the case of the SBP&T.


Eric J. Bowman 8 years, 4 months ago

There is simply no evidence to support any assertion of liberal bias in the media. McCain/Palin ran such a sleazy campaign that the Secret Service directly blames them for the dramatic increase in right-wing anti-Obama assassination plots, yet the fact that this resulted in more negative coverage than the Obama campaign received is evidence of bias?!? One reaps what one sows.

Please tell me you aren't thinking that it's a newspaper's job to spin such discrepancies into balance. What's sad is when an editor completely abrogates his responsibility to the truth, in favor of 'balancing ideologies' or whatever, on the op-ed page and off.

Russia didn't attack Georgia, assertions to the contrary should not have appeared on your op-ed page, even if said assertion was "balanced out" by an op-ed from a liberal (which it wasn't, but that's beside the point), because it is simply not true -- as but one example.

Why should Mallard be balanced out, by Doonesbury or anything else? Daily insults aimed at one side or the other aren't really funny. Why not find something less hyper-partisan to balance out Doonesbury, which only occasionally takes political shots at conservatives, and leave it on the comics page where it belongs?

Coulter is another who should be dropped, not "balanced out" since I don't want to read that sort of vitriolic hyperpartisan blather from wingnuts of any persuasion.

I guess it's too much to ask for thoughtful authors on the op-ed page, instead of the mundane lineup of completely discredited establishment mouthpieces + those whose ideology is partisanship + Krugman currently offered. Bring back Helen Thomas, give something by Paul Craig Roberts a try, or watch more readership flee to the Web.


Matthew Stoddard 8 years, 4 months ago

On a side note, thanks for being at the show, Brent! Sorry I didn't get a chance to say "Hi" in person. Jenn told me you were there. Hope you got a laugh out of it!

And is Helen Thomas even still alive??? I mean, even when her column was running, the picture of her made it look like it was taken beyond the grave.


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