Paul Potyen: Balancing act
October 26, 2008
Steamboat Springs — I’d like to respond to Erich Esswein’s letter to the editor of last Wednesday. Mr. Esswein felt that, based on the articles he found in the Oct. 9 issue, “the Pilot & Today’s commitment to providing balanced, relevant information to voters doesn’t hold up when it comes to the presidential campaigns.”
I don’t count articles in every issue, but it seems to me that, in general, there does seem to be a fair balance. However, on the topic of balance, I’d like to relate an e-mail dialogue I had a couple of years ago with Scott Stanford, who was editor at the time. I complained that there was no balance to Bruce Tinsley’s daily cartoon, “Mallard Fillmore,” which I personally believe is appallingly right-wing, not funny and ill-informed. And it still appears every day in the Pilot. To Mr. Tinsley’s credit, he can draw a darn good picture of a duck, which is probably his best qualification for the job. I suggested that the Pilot alternate “Mallard” with another cartoonist with a different perspective. I even offered to create my own cartoons for him, since I can draw a pretty good picture of an ostrich with its head in the sand. (Stanford declined.) After several e-mail exchanges regarding “Mallard,” Scott told me: “There is no balance. … That’s not likely to change, and I won’t try to convince you that it is fair.”
The moral, if there is one, is that balance depends on your perspective. And an editor’s job is pretty thankless.