The law of the letter

It's to put our readers' best foot forward, and not to trip them up

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It’s no secret we disagree with much of what President Obama does.

But neither should it be a secret how we handle your letters to the editor – about him or anything else.

The short answer is, we do our best to handle them with care.

Letters to the editor are one of the newspaper’s most popular features. And they add vitality and provocative discourse unlike any other.

We can’t get enough of them. We strive to print every printable letter. It makes our page, and our newspaper, better. We hope it makes the community better. We believe it does.

On rare occasions a letter or poorly turned phrase is just not up to publication – and you might imagine some of the reasons why. Length can be a problem, as is the question of libel. The letters section is not a forum for custody disputes or complaints of a bad business experience – or to seek to overturn your criminal conviction. It’s a place to debate public policy, cite community concerns, and applaud the good and bemoan the bad.

But this may be the one thing in the world we have no opinion about: As long as your letter is printable and you’re accountable, we don’t care what you have to say. Our job is simply to help you say it.

And we love doing it.

We never, ever withhold a letter because we may disagree with it. We don’t play up one side or play down another. We don’t rig the discussion in any way.

Well, except one: As professional wordsmiths who care deeply about the language we share, we do our best to put your best foot forward.

That means an occasional spell-check or fact-check (though with the volume of work involved, we simply cannot check all our readers’ facts). It sometimes means realigned paragraphs or reworded phrases for clarity.

The point of it all is twofold: to put a nice polish on your work, and to help it conform to newspaper style and form. Newspapers have a rather extensive stylebook that helps us standardize such things as capitalizations, abbreviations and spellings. That makes it easier on the eyes when they dodge between newspaper articles and reader contributions; anything else would be jarring to the eye and would distract from the message.

We like to explain all this to you, our readers, periodically, but were particularly motivated this time around by a recent online comment that accused us of trying to make the president’s supporters look bad by only printing their worst efforts at letters to the editor.

It was actually quite amusing, because nothing could be further from the truth.

We suspect our friend and Richmond County Democratic Chairman Lowell Greenbaum would vouch for that. We consider Dr. Greenbaum a friend, and would never want to do anything less than present his work in its best light. We treat everyone else the same, and we want you to know that.

Nor would we intentionally disrespect the president in such a way. As much as we oppose his policies, we think it’s crucial to retain high respect for the office of the presidency and the men (and someday women) who hold it.

We aim to give our letter writers every bit of that consideration. And, while we have regulars, we don’t play favorites.

This is your forum. Have at it. And whatever you say about us or our views, we’ll gladly – and respectfully – air yours.

Comments (101) Add comment
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chascushman
6653
Points
chascushman 08/16/13 - 08:01 pm
4
2
" I prefer to think that it
Unpublished

" I prefer to think that it is my humor they don't like."
Bledsoe, it is not.

KSL
125175
Points
KSL 08/16/13 - 08:26 pm
3
2
Hehehehehahaha

Hehehehehahaha

LillyfromtheMills
12864
Points
LillyfromtheMills 08/16/13 - 08:57 pm
3
2
@

@

myfather15
53337
Points
myfather15 08/16/13 - 08:31 pm
5
2
"And I'm about as pro-police

"And I'm about as pro-police as you can get."

Well, somehow I doubt this very seriously!! But anyway, If you don't think I have the wisdom to discern a persons beliefs, through THEIR own words, that is on you; I couldn't possibly care less. I also couldn't care less WHO you would report. If a person opens the conversation and WANTS to talk about God, I'm TALKING!!

Also, could you please tell me which of the prophets and disciples were officially ordained by MEN as ministers, preachers, pastors, etc. ? If I'm not mistaken, most of them had professions that were NOT in the ministry; Paul being one exception.

If you would open your heart, you might be surprise where you will find blessings through OTHER men of God. But hey, keep the shallow mind!! There is NO ONE more critical of pastors, preachers and ministers than God himself!! But don't worry about what God says, just keep placing your trust in these men; and don't forget that love donation!!

myfather15
53337
Points
myfather15 08/16/13 - 09:20 pm
5
2
If a drug addict wants to

If a drug addict wants to talk about God, I promise you; I will talk to them!! I've PERSONALLY seen God bring more people out of drug addiction than ANY rehab facility!! HE is the ANSWER!! He can also take suffering away, and I've experienced it personally. With all those injuries you received in 1974, maybe you should go to Him for help, or not, your choice!! But if you are NOT standing for Him, I assure you; He will not stand for you!!

Young Fred
16289
Points
Young Fred 08/16/13 - 08:41 pm
5
2
t3bledsoe

“Some commenters have told me they don't care for my comments. I prefer to think that it is my humor they don't like”

I've no problem with your “humor” (most times). To be frank, I'm still trying to figure out if you're a serious instigator or a if you're a pretend instigator.

Sometimes I think “no one can seriously hold those views”, but yet you seem to be semi-consistent.

Whatever, difference of opinion makes the world go 'round I suppose. You certainly have a knack for generating responses.

validPoint
982
Points
validPoint 08/16/13 - 08:44 pm
3
1
Just Don't Know

@Chascushman, categorizing is something I have never been good at. It seems to me that personalities are so diversified now-a-days. I am reminded of the reply given by the Biblical character when the question was posed: "whose side are you on, is it ours, or is it theirs?" The reply was:"Neither", I am on the Lord's side".

Actually, I have never been a proponent of categorizing folk, i just accept them based on the attitude they display to me, never learned any other way, and it keeps me flowing gracefully. Personally, I believe this "name calling" and stigmatizing without adequate justification are the key components that serve as a catalyst to bring forth problems around the world.....Now, when I hear the word "most", to me that gives the mind of a person who feels they know "most people", and i simply do not believe any one person is strong enough to know "most' of anything, not even themselves... we simply know the things we tend to understand.......and more times than few, there is much more to be known.... just my impression based on observation. ...we all have our niches, and when we occupy them well, we do well..."Liberal of not...I Just Don't know.

validPoint
982
Points
validPoint 08/16/13 - 08:55 pm
5
1
Point of view shared..

MyFather15, I wholehearted share your viewpoint concerning talking with people about God. Thank you for sharing that, and i believe every word.

Young Fred
16289
Points
Young Fred 08/16/13 - 09:47 pm
3
2
Threatening to turn someone

Threatening to turn someone in for speaking about their beliefs does seem harsh.

Whatever happened to the belief this is America where we all have a right to our opinions. To quote a popular/infamous local radio personality - “lighten up snapper-head!”.

If you don't like another's opinion simply ignore it! Is there some force within you that makes you accept anything without skepticism? Does a uniformed person with an opinion make you lose your skepticism and turn into a lump of mold-able clay?

If that is the case, maybe one should look to their “instruction” as a youth – parents, the public school system, etc.

Speaking of the public school system (pss)– blindly accepting anything a person of authority says sounds like a major goal of the current architects of the pss.

KSL
125175
Points
KSL 08/16/13 - 10:05 pm
1
2
@ youngfred

Excellent comment. I am reminded of the commentor, popkorn.

KSL
125175
Points
KSL 08/16/13 - 10:18 pm
0
2
Bledsoe like popkorn.

Bledsoe like popkorn.

Young Fred
16289
Points
Young Fred 08/16/13 - 10:31 pm
1
1
ksl

popkorn? You'll have to explain that one.

I do know there are a few incarnates of Sybil regularly commenting on these forums.

KSL
125175
Points
KSL 08/17/13 - 01:20 am
0
1
popkorn aka charlieyounce

Lived in Columbia, SC, but was from here. Total believer in 9/11 beiNg an inside job, ie Bush.Comments were more widely frank when I came on board. I actually need to tell you privately all of the background before the AC clampdown.

It is very strange I have never quite figured it out. It involved former military personnel that I had respect for.

Young Fred
16289
Points
Young Fred 08/16/13 - 11:18 pm
1
1
KSL

“more wide frank”?

9/11 conspiracies, I've seen a bunch.

Here's an excellent website that addresses the most popular:
http://www.skepdic.com/

Just search 9/11 conspiracies.

Feel free to contact me. Always open to info from peeps I view as credible, you definitely being in that category.

Darby
24814
Points
Darby 08/17/13 - 01:58 am
3
1
"Much ?? I would be floored if you agreed

with anything about Obama."

.
Bledsoe, I agree with a lot of what OzBama says. Really, a lot. I suspect that the Chronicle folks do as well.

It's just that I disagree with almost 100% of what he actually does!

The man is a world class liar.

Young Fred
16289
Points
Young Fred 08/17/13 - 02:30 am
2
1
Classic

/agree with what he says, disagree with what he does/

Actions speak louder after all!

He does speak sweetly! Knows how to make music unto the lessor informed ears that's for sure.

How often do you suppose the played realize they've been played? And how often do those who realize admit?

Few and fewer!

Bodhisattva
5878
Points
Bodhisattva 08/17/13 - 04:07 am
1
1
For the letters to the

For the letters to the editor? I have no clue. I would hope the "second largest city in Georgia" would have a wider array of opinion than is presented in the letters section. If the paper gets so few letters that they end up printing those of the same people monthly, it might say more about the paper than the area. One of my pet peeves, the every 30 day letter writer. Just because you can write every 30 days doesn't mean it's a requirement. It's the same repetitive drivel by people who are barely hanging on to reality by one tenuous thread, and on occasion that is doubtful. Instead of marking the days off on the calendar waiting for 30 days to end, just do like everyone else and post in the comments section and skip the whole letter thing. The paper does have some sensitive areas that will get you zapped (certain hotels), but in their defense (good Lord I can't believe I'm defending them) a lot of the bans, flags, reports, etc., are from jackasses who hold a grudge for some reason or decide they are above you and flag even an innocuous post. The same with the thumbs up/thumbs down, but those don't mean squat. Some jerk flags you for a bunch of nothing, then you actually do say something that might be out of line you get, "This is the 8th time you've been flagged." Not really the paper's fault. A late comment but yesterday's weather put the kibosh on the internet for satellite users.

KSL
125175
Points
KSL 08/17/13 - 06:16 am
1
1
Bod

"One of by pet peeves....." Are you talking about Greenbaum?

myfather15
53337
Points
myfather15 08/17/13 - 06:55 am
1
1
Bod

"Instead of marking the days off on the calendar waiting for 30 days to end, just do like everyone else and post in the comments section and skip the whole letter thing."

If they don't write letters; what would we have to comment on? Yes, we could comment on actual NEWS articles, but opinion articles usually get people talking!! (or typing I suppose)

myfather15
53337
Points
myfather15 08/17/13 - 06:58 am
1
1
Young Fred

To your 9:47 comment; to some people, the very aspect of a higher power (God) threatens them!! They believe this should be a PERSONAL opinion ONLY and NEVER be spoken of, outside the Church. I honestly believe, if SOME had the power, they would ban ANY public speaking or mention of God!! Because to THEM, He is FAR from reality; He is only a make believe religion, to make people feel good inside!!

Darby
24814
Points
Darby 08/17/13 - 11:37 pm
2
1
"One of my pet peeves, the every 30 day

letter writer. Just because you can write every 30 days doesn't mean it's a requirement."

.
Now, Bod, if you wouldn't mind passing that advice on to our mutual friend and OzBama handmaiden, Lowell Greenbaum.

It wouldn't be so bad if he didn't write the exact same message every 30 days, but he does.

Just changes the words around a bit.

It's sheer torture. But then, maybe that's his diabolical, evil plan.

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