Can we get some balls in editorial please?

Waaah, I don't want to be misunderstood, and... and... and... besides, it's not gonna help anyway. That seems to be the rather undignified message coming from South Dakota's Argus-Leader.

According to Joe Strupp, "Although the biggest abortion rights story in 33 years is taking place in its own backyard, South Dakota's largest newspaper will not editorialize on the controversial statewide abortion ban just recently approved by its legislature."

And why not?
"Part of it was that we wouldn't change people's minds, and part of it, regardless of which side we came down on this, is that people would read into it things that are not true," Chuck Baldwin, editorial page editor of the Argus Leader in Sioux Falls, S.D., told E&P. "People would think our coverage is tainted, and not just on abortion but on everything."
Step aside then, this is not the business for you. Baldwin, who says that the Argus Leader is generally known as a liberal paper (yet it endorsed Bush in '04?), fears that he won't change minds or be understood because the abortion issue is too emotional? Come on. This is a hazard that accompanies any issue from war to the death penalty, to immigration -- even taxes.

It's difficult to tell whether this is just plain and simple cowardice, a business decision based on the continued decline in newspaper circulation, or a combination of the two.

To his credit, A-L editor, Randall Beck did explain the decision in a column, though it doesn't change the fact that the paper withheld its views out of fear, cowardice, and impotence. The point is, if your board is split and you actually don't have an editorial position, that's one thing. But if you're withholding out of fear of misunderstanding and possible damage to your credibility? That's unacceptible. As one angry reader responded: "Your paper's silence is shameful."

And yes, I am angry. (E&P)

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