Pardon our opinions 

CL's new editorial page promises provocation

This newspaper is no stranger to opinion. At various times over our 38-year history, we've run guest editorials, he said/she said-style op-eds and a parade of proudly profane opinion-ish columns. (We still love you, Hollis.) We were the first publication to take a chance on a pair of conservative essayists named Barr and Boortz. And you also may have noticed that many of our print articles - and nearly all of our blog posts - are written with a distinct point of view.

But what you see in this space is a different animal, what we in the journalism biz call an unsigned editorial. It's where a publication sticks its neck out to tell you what it believes, what it hopes will happen, what pisses it off. You're familiar with the boilerplate that goes, "The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of the network/magazine/blog/etc. ... ?" Well, this is the opposite. Here, in the unsigned editorial, is where we, as Creative Loafing, tell you what's on our mind.

The unsigned editorial has long been the domain of the daily newspaper, which would use it as a vehicle to provide the kind of opinionated commentary on the issues of the day that wasn't reflected in the more-or-less objective news coverage. In the increasingly distant past, AJC editors such as Henry Grady and Ralph McGill used the space, in addition to their own columns, to spur the region to economic recovery and advance the cause of civil rights.

Last year, the AJC dissolved its editorial board, exiled most of its columnists - including Cynthia Tucker, fresh from accepting her Pulitzer Prize - to the Web and stopped running daily editorials altogether. A couple of months back, editor Julia Wallace told NPR an astonishing thing: The AJC's readers "don't want us to be a newspaper with a strong point of view."

What she meant, of course, is that the paper doesn't want to offend, that it's afraid it will lose still more thousands of readers if it's perceived as being "too liberal." What its readers really want, Wallace said, is "balance."

Screw balance.

The editorial page is not the place for balance. It's the place to deliver calls to arms, arguments and broadsides. But mostly, it's an arena of thoughtful conversation in the service of offering solutions to the challenges facing us all. Our goal is not to tell you what to think or simply to mouth off, but to provoke thought and initiate an intelligent dialogue with our readers.

We're not afraid of being called liberal. Or fascist. Or politically incorrect. Or disestablishmentarianist, for that matter, provided you're able to explain what that means.

But what utterly terrifies us is being called predictable. Or, worse, dull.

So, as we grow into our new editorial space, we want to make a deal with y'all: We promise to provoke you with fresh, intelligent opinions. You, the provoked, please fire back thoughtfully. Let us know when we're right and when we're full of crap.

And leave balance to gymnasts and tire shops.

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