Montana Politics The Media

Balance in the IR Editorial Page


Today, the Helena IR announced that it was adding two syndicated columnists to its editorial page, Garrison Keilor and Jonah Goldberg. No word on whose columns were dropped. Here’s how the IR describes its two latest additions:

Goldberg spices his commentary with pop references and plenty of unconventional views, but remains an ardent conservative who strongly advocates small government and defends the war in Iraq. He’s been called the "unofficial mouthpiece for younger conservatives."

[Keilor’s] column dwells not on the latest developments in Washington, D.C., but on issues that really matter to average men and women, as well as those quirky stories that many readers find so fascinating.Keillor lacks a political agenda, freeing him to add his thoughtful voice to the national dialog in ways that challenge conventional wisdom and bring humor to the debate.

In other words, the IR decided that a good way to maintain a balanced editorial page was to add a strident, right-wing conservative and an intelligent articulate fellow whose column is basically apolitical. What, Michelle Malkin and Anne Coulter were booked?

Jonah, as readers of this site are probably aware, is a particularly delightful conservative:

  • Jonah,writing no doubt from his cushy office in Washington D.C. suggests that freed hostage Jill Carroll wasn’t critical enough of her captors;
  • Jonah parlayed hawking his mother’s recordings of Linda Tripp into a career as a columnist;
  • Jonah jokes about the dead and dying in New Orleans, while the flooding was still happening, calling the city "a Mad Max/thunderdome Waterworld/Lord of the Flies horror show"; and
  • Jonah Goldberg is a "fearmonger, a warmonger, and a demagogue."

Obvously, I am not going to be thrilled about the addition of any of the new conservative voices out there, who often substitute being the loudest for being the most correct, but it’s especially egregious to add Mr. Goldberg without adding a balanced editorial voice. I guess it will make the three conservatives who POST comments on EVERY story on the ONLINE version of the IR happy, though.

I’m certainly going to let the editors of the IR know my opinion–and suggest that you do as well.


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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it’s a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.


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  • Sure, Keillor is a liberal. His column, however, is nothing like Goldberg’s.

    For example, this hard-hitting piece from Keillor oddly dated this coming Sunday:

    Yeah, that’s right. A piece about his thoughts about mortality and his neighbor’s cat.

    Jonah’s latest column on TownHall?

    Another thoughtfully developed attack on CNN, Reuters, the Supreme Court, and Hollywood.

    Yup. Definitely balanced.

  • A little update, because I am having trouble getting myself to work today.

    The LA Times has a list of Mr. Goldberg’s recent columns here. (Hint, they are about how progressives are in favor of appeasing terrorists, death, and I believe, banning ice cream for children.)

    Tribune Media Services offers a 90 day archive of Mr. Keillor’s recent columns. While they are occasionally political, the criticism is light, not vitriolic. Most of the colums are about telling stories about his family and friends, or Americana.

    Yup. Pretty balanced stuff.

  • One of the standard features on most blog packages is a ‘trackback’ feature–that allows someone writing about my post on their site to leave a little blurb on mine automatically.

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