Staff Columnist

Readers cheer Republican snub of The Gazette, scream 'bias!'

Gov. Kim Reynolds opens with a few remarks as she meets with The Gazette's Editorial Board at The Gazette in Cedar Rapid
Gov. Kim Reynolds opens with a few remarks as she meets with The Gazette's Editorial Board at The Gazette in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

It was 13 years ago this past week that I walked into The Gazette as a new columnist. The time has certainly flown by.

“Dorman used to be readable 15-20 years ago but has turned into a left wing hack who thinks he is funny,” wrote a reader in response to last Sunday’s column on Republican candidates refusing to meet with our editorial board.

Yes, at times it does seem like I’ve been here much longer. After a week like this, it seems like 13 years might be enough, or maybe too much. The same reader also suggested I be assigned to community news and obituaries. Maybe so.

I heard from a lot of readers who cheered Republicans for snubbing us and jeered us for treating GOP candidates so shoddily by criticizing their agenda and public policy decisions.

“The Gazette has become an unabashed propaganda arm of the Democratic Party and the modern liberal agenda,” one reader wrote.

“The negative editorial slamming the handling of the virus by Kim Reynolds caused me to cancel my subscription to The Gazette,” another said.

“There are so many sources of news and commentary now that reading what you guys write is just wasting our time. We know what you’re going to say so why bother?” a reader argued.

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“What a totally biased POS opinion article you’ve managed to get printed for the 10/4/2020 Sunday’s edition of The Gazette,” a reader wrote. “You’ve got the audacity to ‘wonder’ why the Republican representatives won’t meet with your editorial board? YOU & LENZ would be reason enough.”

You might have heard or read that my colleague Lyz Lenz was fired this past week. Unfortunately, I can’t say anything about a personnel issue such as this. But I can say I have not heard from a chorus of contented conservatives satisfied now that Insight has lost its strongest liberal voice.

There has been some reaction.

“Got your resume updated Toddy?” wrote one of my persistent, anonymous trolls.

Like I wrote Sunday, there’s always going to be something sparking the pyres of perpetual outrage. If it’s not a local columnist it’s our editorials or syndicated columnists or cartoons that raise conservative ire. I often hear we’re censoring right-leaning letter writers (we’re not). If it’s not the Insight section it’s the way local news stories are written or the wire services we subscribe to or the photos or the headlines.

No matter what, that one insidious, catchall word will rear its accusatory head.

“I would like to ask you and your staff to look at your past work with clear vision and be honest ... Do you see any political bias in your articles?” a reader asked.

Bias. It’s always bias. It’s the get-out-of-actually-considering-your-arguments card. Don’t agree with a column or an editorial or a news story? Just yell bias at it. I’ve heard it also takes out grease stains.

You can’t defeat the bias police. You can only ignore the constant wailing sirens, do your job and stick to your guns. Trying to please them is a losing proposition.

Rather than bias, what I personally suffer from is a series of strong preferences.

For example, I prefer politicians who don’t lie thousands of times. I prefer leaders who don’t stoke racial divisions, demonize immigrants and throw children into squalid detention centers. I have a strong preference for officials who don’t badly mishandle our response to a deadly global pandemic, resulting in thousands of needless deaths. I prefer encouraging, not suppressing, voting.

I prefer legislatures that don’t push petty, destructive policies through in the middle of the night and with little or no input from those affected. I prefer to live in a country where LGBTQ Americans have full civil rights protections and don’t have to fear being shoved back into the shadows. It’s my preference that we actually do something about systemic racism before more Black lives are lost.

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So if you’re telling me I have to give more space to pro-lying, pro-hatred, pro-preventable death, pro-voter suppression, pro-petty and pro-discrimination viewpoints, I’ve got some bad news.

Republicans, of course, have their own lines in the sand. But that still doesn’t mean we can’t sit down and have a civil discussion around our board table or in a video chat. There are issues where common ground is possible. Several readers said we need to see things from the GOP perspective. How can we do that if Republicans won’t meet with us?

I’m also told often our endorsements don’t matter. So why should it matter to Republicans if they win one? Come talk with us anyway.

Thanks to all who weighed in. Now, Toddy’s got to look over his resume.

(319) 398-8262; todd.dorman@thegazette.com

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We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.