Was editor being snarky?
February 23, 2017
To The Eagle: Those of us who dink around regularly in the "letter to the editor" department do so mostly to advance alternative points of view, and occasionally deflate bubbles of political or governmental hot air. We are always delighted when we manage to evoke an inappropriate, intemperate, or defensive response from the object of one of our rants. It's not so much drawing blood as it is counting coup in the old spirit of the Plains Indians. For that particular endeavor, kudos are due to Mike Swift for his polemic in last week's Eagle.
Mike's rhetorical question was why, in a county that went 57/35 Trump over Clinton, is the local newspaper treating us to a barrage of anti-Trump editorials, selected slanted Associated Press articles, and bellicose letters from locals. The latter is acceptable, of course, as long as letters from the other side are not being withheld, which doesn't seem to be the case. In fact, our local complaints seem a bit less childish and hysterical than lefty fear and loathing that has inundated media elsewhere. The rub comes (along with much of the entertainment value) in the editor's response:
The editor chose to respond with a detailed analysis showing that Trump won the election by a wide margin of electoral votes, while Hillary did manage to finish ahead in the popular vote by a small margin. This fact showcases the genius of our founding fathers in setting up the electoral college system to even out factional anomalies and prevent undue influence by larger states. Looking at the red and blue electoral map covering the country county by county illustrates this. Hillary won only a few large metropolitan areas; the rest of the country went firmly for Trump. The editor starts his remarks with "To be precise," hinting, of course, that Mike was not. But Mike's letter opened with reference to Trump's overwhelming win in this county, not the country.
So the question is, does our editor not know the difference between "county" and "country," or was he just being precisely -- in Mike's elegant prose -- snarky?
Editor replies: Long ago, I was advised not to put editor’s notes on letters to the editor, for they could be seen as, well, snarky. I apologize for appearing to be snarky. --Rick Nelson.