As of this moment, the Idaho Press will no longer publish any more columns by Wayne Hoffman, president of the Idaho Freedom Foundation. I’ve received a couple of complaints from readers who said they are going to cancel their subscription if we continue to run columns by Wayne Hoffman. We can’t afford to lose subscribers. So, bye-bye, Wayne. It’s been fun, but I can’t lose any subscribers right now.
I also received a couple of threats to cancel subscriptions because of Jim Jones, former Idaho attorney general and state Supreme Court justice. He’s just too liberal, they say, and they’re not going to support a newspaper that publishes his opinions. So, so long, Jim. No more columns from you, either.
And Judy Ferro, who usually runs on the same day as Wayne Hoffman, also has to go. People have threatened to cancel their subscription over her views, too.
Last week, one of our subscribers did cancel his subscription because we ran an “unflattering” editorial cartoon of Donald Trump over his support of the Saudi prince in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. So I’ve made the editorial decision that we will no longer run any editorial cartoons that could be perceived as critical of our president. From now on, only positive, pro-Trump editorial cartoons.
On second thought, that will probably upset our readers who don’t support Trump. They’ll probably cancel their subscriptions if we do that. I know, we’ll no longer run anything about the president. No cartoons at all and no opinion pieces. That way, no one will get upset and cancel their subscriptions.
You know, while I’m thinking about it, I did receive a few angry phone calls when the editorial board endorsed Proposition 2, Medicaid expansion. They didn’t agree with that opinion. And when the editorial board voted against Proposition 1, the horse betting initiative, we did have some readers cancel their subscriptions. So we’ll have to get rid of those, too.
Imagine how many subscribers we’ll have once we get rid of all that stuff.
You can see where I’m going here. Can you imagine what the newspaper would look like if we didn’t publish anything that someone might disagree with? I’ll tell you what it would look like: It would be page after page of nothing but blank white space with nothing on it.
This, really, is symptomatic of the times we live in. More and more, people are unable to have an honest debate about the issues. It seems we’re not even able to have a discussion, an open disagreement about anything these days.
When you call me up or write a note saying you’re canceling your subscription because of something that ran in the paper, you’re telling me a couple of things. One, you’re not able to formulate a dissenting opinion, which you could then put into words and send it in as a letter to the editor. Two, you’re trying to bully the newspaper into not publishing things you don’t like. I hate to tell you this, but that’s censorship, whether it comes from the government or elsewhere. And that’s just not something I’m going to do.
So we’re going to continue running Wayne Hoffman, Judy Ferro, Jim Jones, Randy Stapilus, letters to the editor, guest opinions and editorial cartoons. Yes, trigger warning, you’re going to read something that you disagree with or don’t like. That’s how we play this game.
If you disagree with something, write a letter to the editor. We’ll publish it — even if it means someone who disagrees with you threatens to cancel their subscription over it.