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Start the Presses: Opinions and those who share them

November 02, 2013|By Dan Evans, dan.evans@latimes.com

Earlier this month, the Burbank Leader and Glendale News-Press ran an editorial praising the implementation of the Affordable Care Act — aka "Obamacare" — and what we saw as being the positive local impacts of the federal law.

Given that a large number of people in our communities are either uninsured or underinsured, the increased health of such individuals, we argued, would be good for us all. That is, good for us here, in our blocks and streets and neighborhoods, not just a theoretical "good" as determined by faceless suits in Washington, D.C.

Given that the rhetoric on both sides of this issue has risen to high camp, I was far from shocked that some people were not pleased with this position. Several even wrote letters — ones we published — to say they would cancel their subscriptions because of our stance. Another opaquely warned about a "fifth column," bent on destroying the American republic.

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Oh, please.

However, this highlights a troubling trend. More and more, people decide their intellectual, political or religious opponents are not just wrong, but evil. This is supremely unhelpful, as it results in a cycle of ever-more-rigid stances, fortified by an echo chamber of like minds. Why, after all, would you try to see eye-to-eye with the devil?

Deciding to cancel a paper because you disagree with an editorial position is not only silly, but disingenuous. Were I a betting man — and, in fact, I am — I would wager that these individuals will not follow through with their treat or will simply continue to read us online.

Why? Though Burbank and Glendale are each relatively large in size, and in some states would be an area's main city, they often feel like small towns. Everyone knows one another, it seems, or believes they do.

Additionally, given the mega-metropolis directly to the south, issues of vital importance here get scant play by the region's largest newspapers and broadcasters. So, with no disrespect to my journalism colleagues, if you want to know what's happening in Burbank or Glendale, you have to read the News-Press or Leader.

I don't say this to be arrogant, nor do I claim that our publications are perfect. But our staff is larger, more experienced and better sourced than that of any of our local competitors, and we have won local, state and even national awards for our coverage.

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