Observer doesn’t flinch at opinions

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — As professionals whose work is in the public eye, we expect criticism, but don’t expect us to bow to it without a very good reason.

Yes, we’re human like everyone else, so we make a mistake on a fact or say the wrong thing in the heat of the moment sometimes. When that happens, we’ll do whatever we can to make it right where we were wrong.

But we don’t change our opinions just because someone disagrees, and we don’t apologize for reporting the truth simply because someone doesn’t like reading it.

If you’d like to tattle to an elected official about how we refused to follow your orders or apologize for an opinion, you’re free to do that, but you’re wasting your time. (Multiple people have tried it.)

While we like to maintain good working relationships with our local officials, no governmental representative anywhere can control us. So says the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

That freedom of the press is a very important American right that every man, woman and child here should understand. It keeps government accountable and limits power by preventing those in authority from silencing the truth or telling lies unchecked for their own power and benefit.

While we’re not worried about any local officials trying to become tyrants, we don’t take orders from them, nor do they try to interfere with our freedom.

As for accusations about an editorial being unprofessional, we disagree. Editorials have been part of newspapers literally for centuries, and we’re just as entitled to our opinions as other Americans.

Feel free to disagree and complain, but don’t expect an apology for our stance. You won’t get one.

Also, we stand by our reporting. We don’t agree with everyone we quote, nor do we support every decision made by everybody we cover.

Reporting only what we like would be dishonest, covering up part of the truth.

We want to avoid glorifying bad behavior. However, we like to recognize when someone moves past bad decisions to become a contributing, successful member of society.

Balancing those ideals means walking a fine line, and we don’t claim to have the perfect solution.

Stories are worth telling, though, and people shouldn’t be written off because of one mistake. We’re proud to tell stories and recognize overcomers.

As to the political cartoons, their nature is to poke fun at one side of politics or the other.

We don’t aim to offend, and we don’t run cartoons we believe border on obscenity or are over-the-top hateful. At the same time, we don’t believe in silencing differing views to keep everybody comfortable.

For financial reasons, we have access to one cartoonist at a time. Last year, we switched from a liberal cartoonist to a conservative one, and we plan to eventually switch back.

This is the best we can do for balance with the resources we have.

We know this editorial will probably lead to a string of insults from people who think we’re villains for our stand. Fine.

If you want to complain, we recommend sending a letter to the editor to editor@rrobserver.com or 409 NM 528, Ste. 101, Rio Rancho, NM 87124. Have enough gumption to sign it or we’ll throw it out.

Please include your city of residence and a phone number in case we need to clarify anything with you. The phone number will not be published.

The letter will be printed, as long as it’s not obscene or libelous, even if it criticizes us.

We’re not afraid of dissenters’ voices. We just don’t apologize for ours.

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