If everyone hates the editor, mission accomplished!
As an editor, I’ve learned to accept, even thrive, under the
understanding that if everyone hates my guts, I’m probably doing my
job. That’s why I sleep better when I receive calls from both ends
of the political spectrum proclaiming me either a communist or a
fascist. For you who don’t remember high school government classes,
those are the left and right extremes in political discourse.
Though some ignorant would-be pundits sometimes use them
interchangeably, they’re different political philosophies – think
Stalin and Hitler.
Anyhoo… during my 14 years as editor of Outdoor News, there’s
been a pretty decent balance of libs and right-wingers who’ve sent
me nasty emails or screamed at me over the phone. Some crazy leftie
once threatened me after I criticized the nation’s carte blanche
immigration policy, and I still chuckle at the folks who called me
a few years back furious for suggesting that Dick Cheney might have
exhibited poor firearms handling skills when he shot a guy in the
This spring, however, I’m getting pounded more from the right.
Probably not surprising, given that Republicans are now in power at
the State Capitol (for the first time in my lifetime on the Senate
side), and the people with decision-making responsibility typically
bear the burden of being held accountable. So it is that I and
other columnists in Outdoor News have pointed out some problematic
ideas from our current Legislature, like proposals to sell off
public lands, deregulate clean water guidelines and other
environmental rules, and generally just muddling up sound fish and
game management. That’s just to scratch the surface.
A recent emailer suggested that because most Outdoor News readers
lean right-of-center, this newspaper’s editorial policy should be
less critical of Republicans. I have no idea if his description of
our readers’ political leanings is true, but even if he’s correct,
that won’t change how I write my column or edit this newspaper. I’m
not going to pull punches when any politician authors a potential
law that would harm our sports or the outdoor world we claim to
hold dear. Surely the mere suggestion that an independent media
outlet cast a blind eye toward bad policy, from anyone, insults the
intelligence of the vast majority of readers, whatever their
I don’t make many promises, but here’s one: If any politician,
Democrat or Republican, introduces a dumb bill that’s bad for
conservation, the nation’s public lands legacy, fish and wildlife,
or the habitat that sustains them, we’re going to be critical of
that proposal. If that hurts your feelings because you support said
politician for another position – say taxes or a social issue –
deal with it.
Look through this paper over the years, and you’ll see that we’ve
spread the bashing around pretty evenly. Several Republicans have
received great ink for their environmental and conservation
credentials: Arne Carlson, Dennis Fredrickson, Norm Coleman, and
Dennis Ozment to name a few. On the flip side, many Democrats, like
Phyllis Kahn, Jean Wagenius, Steve Dill, and Tom Rukavina have
taken many punches from myself and other scribes at this
Finally, some good news from the current session. In the midst of a
pretty lousy legislative winter and spring, a couple bright spots
have emerged. First, it sounds as though the public lands bashing
that highlighted the early session won’t develop into any actual
policy. That’s at least in part because a couple of Republican
committee chairs, Denny McNamara and Bill Ingebrigtsen, have done a
pretty good job of bucking their caucus and fighting for the
average hunter, angler, and conservationist.
Perhaps one reason they’ve been able to hold that line is because
of the willingness of Outdoor News writers, as well as Dennis
Anderson at the Star Tribune, to call out some bad policy
Rest assured, we’ll keep doing that.