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George Rebane: The Union now has a medieval bent

George Rebane | Other Voices

“All great truths began as blasphemies.” — GB Shaw

We have broken bread with our newspaper’s publisher, Don Rogers, communicate with him regularly, and consider him a friend. Don is a likable and honorable man with clear ideas about the kinds of content that should appear in The Union, ideas that he most recently shared in the Oct. 22 edition of his weekly column.

Writing about the criteria for acceptable commentary, he informed us, his readers, that facts and evidence must check out with “conventional, legitimate sources. We try to keep it within the mainstream guardrails factually for more grounded discussion than, say, on Brunswick street corners or at the start of county supervisors’ meetings.”

Swimming with the times, the newspaper’s editorial policy has noticeably tilted leftward. I sensed something had changed when a recent Other Voices submission of mine on some new research by sociologist Charles Murray was rejected for containing subject matter outside established norms, content that would violate the sensibilities of the newspaper’s readership. It was my first and only rejection in 20 years, and since then I’ve almost learned to behave myself.

These are trying times and new ideas are a messy business, often rejected by minds more careful and staid. And as a private enterprise, The Union has every right to determine what it chooses to print. Nevertheless, this is my lament about our hometown newspaper, which we eagerly consume daily. It is also an appeal for more latitude in the ideas it sees fit to print.

With its current editorial policy in place, the writings of thinkers such as Pythagoras, Copernicus, Galileo, DaVinci, Newton, Kepler, Darwin, Pasteur, Mendel, Edison, Bell, Einstein, Fermi, Payne, Revere, Franklin, Jefferson, Hamilton, Adams, Madison would not have passed muster to grace the pages of The Union today.

As a student of both history and science I am reminded that, fortunately, our beloved land was born on “Brunswick street corners” and in exciting “county supervisors meetings,” all of which then as now were considered outside “the mainstream guardrails factually,” violating the “more grounded discussions” of the day.

So now as then, such out-of-box expressions have again been proscribed, and it appears that The Union has joined the ranks of today’s publications with an editorial policy distinctly of a medieval bent. But I wonder, does it have to be this way?

George Rebane lives in Nevada County.


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