Editorial: Liberal or Conservative? We think not

There’s a letter to the editor within these pages from a couple who considered letting their Suffolk Times subscription lapse because, in their minds, the paper had become too liberal. Of course, we don’t subscribe to that categorization and dare to say that some of our more liberal readers don’t either. Regular readers know we’ve come under some strong criticism of late for printing letters to the editor with a decidedly right-wing slant.

This discussion raises the question of what makes a publication liberal or conservative. Mirroring the either/or intensity of the state of national politics, no one ever describes a newspaper as “moderate” or “centrist.” Does printing a liberal letter or column make us liberal? Or does a conservative letter or column make us conservative? Not hardly. In Southold, the whole conservative/liberal paradigm is nothing more than talk. The Town Board includes a conservative (with a lower case C) Democrat and an environmentalist Republican, both of whom are greatly admired by members of the other party. In its 2011 election platform the Democratic Party called for stimulating business and the economy and reducing residential build-out to keep property taxes in check. On the other hand, the town Republican leader serves on the board of directors of the North Fork’s leading anti-poverty organization.

The presidential campaign seems alone in following the traditional, unmuddied divisions, but so what? That race certainly won’t be decided in Southold.

We won’t join the discussion on whether other, larger media outlets are liberal or conservative. That matters not here. The Suffolk Times has been in print since 1857 while other local publications that catered to a single political viewpoint have come and gone.

Do our stories this week on volunteers sewing clothes for the poor and the church welcoming people of all sexual orientations make us liberal? Does our coverage of the memorial for a soldier killed in the war on terror make us conservative?

The answer to both is no.

We pride ourselves on serving the community and reflecting its diversity — political, socioeconomic or otherwise. We’re not conservatives or liberals, we’re people fortunate enough — blessed, if you will — to share this incredible community in these extraordinary times. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that the same can’t be said everywhere.