Opinion (n)- A view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily a fact.
When I became the Opinion Editor of The Murray State News, one of the questions asked at my interview was whether or not I could handle the criticism that would come with publishing unpopular opinions. My answer was yes, and here I am.
I have editorialized on issues where I knew my stance was in the minority and I would receive critical feedback.
Knowing I was putting myself in the hot seat, I took this job with a layer of thick skin.
While I don’t mind sitting back and reading Facebook comments about how people disagree with my positions and why, it does bother me when people say that columns are poorly written simply because they disagree.
I have been in debates with my roommates and friends on controversial topics.
As much as I disagree with what they have to say sometimes, I’ll always accept their right to have an opinion that is separate from my own. Their opinions are not wrong – just different. By the end of the night, we still hang out together, live together and, for the most part, get along.
This concept of viewpoint acceptance is why civilized people who debate on hot-button topics bite their tongues before calling their opponent an “idiot” or something more colorful. I’m sure you don’t need an example.
The people take these debates personally usually destroy their relationships. They will likely go to bed angry. Who likes doing that?
Should my journalistic integrity be questioned because I wrote something that most of you disagreed with? No. Am I an embarrassment to the journalism department at Murray State? My teachers and coworkers don’t think so (at least I hope not. I’ll have to ask them. I’ll get back to you on that soon).
One thing I often tell my columnists is that they can voice their support for the most radical opinions they have. As long as they have valid reasons and support for their opinions, they have that right.
Zac Garrison wrote a column two weeks ago about how people with depression and ADHD are overmedicated to the point that they are dependent on pills. For the overwhelming support he received, he was also subjected to harsh online comments and hate mail. People said he was a bad writer and that he was illiterate simply because they disagreed with him.
Thankfully, he wasn’t discouraged and he continues to write material that I am proud of publishing for the community at Murray State.
This is me asking you, as readers, to meet us halfway. If you disagree with what we write, tell us why in an educated manner. The name-calling destroys the validity of your viewpoint, and I hate to burst your bubble, but it doesn’t hurt our feelings.
I am thankful every week for the people who disagree with my columns, but they explain why in a way that doesn’t dilute their position. Those are the people that make my job interesting and worthwhile.
Column by Carly Besser, Opinion Editor