Reader Opinion: A deafening silence
Earlier this year I noted a decrease in the number of reader opinions in the Dispatch as judged against my perception of a past average of about three reader opinions per day. To help validate this observation and look for clues of causation, I s...
Earlier this year I noted a decrease in the number of reader opinions in the Dispatch as judged against my perception of a past average of about three reader opinions per day. To help validate this observation and look for clues of causation, I saved all editorial pages starting on April 9. From then through Aug. 18, there were 160 reader opinions in 114 publication days, giving an average of 1.4 reader opinions per day. A supplementary fact is that 36 issues had no reader opinions, giving a proportionate increase in non-reader opinions (guest, other, etc.).
All opinions were examined to identify those in which the name Trump (or an equivalent term) was used. Twenty-six reader opinions qualified. Eight opinions were positive for President Trump and 18 were negative. The publication days were divided equally in half. Five positive Trump letters were before June 15, and three after. There were 12 negative Trump opinions letters before June 15, and five after. All Trump letters represented 16 percent of all reader opinions, with the positive letters constituting five percent of the total.
There were 298 non-reader opinions, 96 (32 percent) with some references to President Trump; ranging from positive to neutral to negative.
Various interpretations could be applied to explain the recent decrease in all reader opinions. The same applies to the relatively few regarding President Trump, in a county where 62 percent of voters voted for him.
President Trump has repeatedly accused the media of not reporting the truth about him. The Dispatch has had many opinions about President Trump to which anyone could respond in editorial space enough to accommodate at least seventy more reader opinions.
But Trump supporters or former supporters have not responded, and the near silence speaks volumes. One might even say it's deafening.