The Bakersfield Californian - Their Humble Non-Opinion Opinion

I have written in the past about the Kieffe Ford Dealership bigoted radio advertisement that has caused quite a stir, not just among non-theists, but within the Christian and non-Christian community as well. Blog reactions reached such a volume as to be heard internationally, with Britain's Telegraph reporting about it online. One important source of information has been The Bakersfield Californian who were the first with boots on the ground to interview Kieffe and provide more the context from Rick Kieffe himself. The context was exactly what many suspected - bigotry and hypocrisy, whether Kieffe recognizes it or not.

Given the sudden notoriety of this small dealership in Kern County, you might expect that The Bakersfield Californian would eventually weigh in with an editorial. One emailer even wrote to ask why they had not. A review of the editorials that they did run during this time shows that their focus was (and rightly so) on local issues. One does not get the impression from a review of their opinion pieces, letters to the editor, etc. that Kieffe made much of an impression at all on the local level. So, The Bakersfield Californian could be forgiven for editorializing if this was indeed reason.

But it's not. Sven Eriksson, in asking why there was no editorial, wrote
"Maybe you guys in B'field all love their kind of talk? Or maybe they sponsor too much advertising in your paper? I swear, I can't figure it out. There's no room in contemporary society for these crusaders."

Columnist Dianne Hardisty responded
Maybe, Sven, the bigoted ad was so ignorant that an editorial condemning it would be, "No duh!"

If Eriksson is waiting for us to editorialize that the car dealer has no right to spew bigoted views, he shouldn't hold his breath.

That's what's great about this country. People have the right to say stupid things. And customers have the right not to shop at Kieffe and Sons.

There are two reasons here for not publishing an editorial:

1. The ad was so obviously bigotted, it didn't warrant comment, and
2. People have the right to say stupid things.

These are poor excuses for not having an opinion, and as a newspaper, you can argue that it is their responsibility to have an opinion, especially in such a highly visible matter as the Kieffe & Sons ad. While the newspaper's job is to research and report the news, they do have an editorial section where they frequently offer their slant on anything and everything.

Editorials, preaching though they may be, nonetheless have the power to sway the masses one way or the other. Unfortunately, The Bakersfield Californian passed up the opportunity to offer any sort of opinion, other than the little side piece by Ms. Hardisty - a glance at an opinion at best.

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