February 28, 2024

Newton cannot be welcoming without allowing different opinions

To the editor:

Since I don’t read blogs and had not heard of the recent controversy, I was shocked to learn in last Tuesday’s paper that Mr. Eschliman was fired as editor from the Newton Daily News. I’ve lived in the community since 2011 and watched the Newton Daily News grow into a paper worthwhile reading and then in January returning to what it was. I had heard several times many insults that Bob expressed Christian viewpoints, but I believed in America and the right to have a private opinion.

My grandfather, a lifelong newspaperman, was part owner of a weekly newspaper in Purcell, Okla. He taught me that journalism on the opinion page was about differences of opinions and that news was factual. He was realistic that there were slants in news, but they were to be eradicated as much as possible.

At the bottom of the opinion page in the Newton Daily News is “Opinions expressed in letters and columns are those of the writers and do not represent the views of the Newton Daily News.” By definition I understood a blog to be private. I feel this controversy is about a number of hidden agendas. Ben Frotscher in his letter said, “... it’s sad to see that the antiquated, out-of-touch thinking of senior leadership … extrinsic religiosity … subsets of our culture.” If my private opinion is Christian, belief in what is said in the Bible, it is assumed I am an antiquated subset of culture and should lose my job.

I have personal friends on all sides of this issue, and we disagree on a multitude of things, but we discuss them. This issue is a no-win one. John Rung has the power to fire. A new editor will eventually be in place. I wouldn’t want his or her job, knowing I must not express personal opinions in private. In reality, the editor will be screened to conform to those with evolving opinions.

As to Newton to be seen as welcoming, how can that be so — when we cannot cope with differences of opinions. When we illustrate that if you stand up for something in private you will pay heavy consequences. Granddaddy would have called that prejudice. We say good-bye to a fine man, a man with faith, a man with faith in his country, and we are the losers.

Christine Pauley