The words on these pages are opinions

By TIM BEELAND,

Opinion! The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines an opinion as:

1 a: a view, judgment, or appraisal formed in the mind about a particular matter. We asked them for their opinions about the new stadium.

b: approval, esteem. I have no great opinion of his work.

2 a: belief stronger than impression and less strong than positive knowledge. a person of rigid opinions

b: a generally held view. news programs that shape public opinion

3 a: a formal expression of judgment or advice by an expert. My doctor says that I need an operation, but I’m going to get a second opinion.

b: the formal expression (as by a judge, court, or referee) of the legal reasons and principles upon which a legal decision is based. The article discusses the recent Supreme Court opinion.

No where do you see the words fact, proven fact, law, news, feature, story...the Bible! An opinion is just that. It is one person’s beliefs and no two people believe anything exactly the same way. No two people ever have, nor ever will!

Now look up at the top of this page. The header up there reads “Opinion.” That means that the words on this page are not news. They are the belief’s of the writers who appear here and on the following page. That my friends is a fact.

We often come under fire here at The Times for stating our opinions and for allowing readers of this paper to do the same via Letter’s to the Editor and guest columnists. I’m sorry, folks, but that is what an editorial page and an op-ed page are for.

I don’t agree with lots of things that appear on these pages either, but I do believe the writers have the constitutional right to express themselves here if they so choose. Everyone has that same right. You have it too!

Every opinion piece you read here, every single week, belongs solely to the writer. They are not the opinion of the newspaper. Other than the one you are reading right now, they are not my opinion and other than the one you may read below, they are not the opinion of any staff member of this newspaper.

The columnists that you may, or may not, choose to read on the op-ed page — that’s page 5 just to your right — do not work for this paper, nor are they paid a penny for their writing. If you don’t like what they have to say, if you don’t like what I have to say, if you don’t like what James has to say below, don’t read it. Just turn the page.

But rather than do that, what we would like to encourage you, our readers, to do is express your opinions on these pages as well. If you disagree with something you read here, sit down and write a letter. Better yet write a guest column yourself. The columnists on the op-ed page do not own that space. They are there because they are the only ones that choose to write.

If you agree with something you’ve read here, Lord knows we would like to hear that as well. Criticism, as we in the business all know, is much easier for folks to express than the heaping on of the praise.

You’re going to read some stuff this week, if you so choose, that you are not going to like. We just ask that you remember it’s an opinion. Take a moment to contemplate it, formulate your response, and sit down and put those words on paper, or better yet type them into your email program and shoot ‘em our way.

Granted some folks do like to keep the pot stirred up, and others just have a fleeting inspiration, but it’s not my place, or yours, to tell them they are right or wrong, or that you are right or wrong for that matter either.

These words, on these pages, are, after all, just opinions.