A couple of weeks ago, before being invaded by the NRA, Louisville was visited by Bernie Sanders, who was campaigning ahead of Kentucky’s primary. Finally, it was Louisville’s turn to “feel the Bern!” As editor of LEO, and an occasional political commentator, it seemed like the appropriate time to offer my commentary on the state of the Democratic primary.
The response was incredible.
While some people lauded the column, others criticized it, which is what I hoped to achieve. However, included in the overwhelming number of responses to my column, were some questions as to whether LEO had lost its progressive purpose and gone mainstream.
No, this is not another Bernie Sanders commentary. This is not my rebuttal or retort to the points made by those who disagreed with my column. After several conversations within the office, we felt I need to take this opportunity to address the concerns of some people by clearly communicating LEO’s mission. Also, I want to explain my role as editor, and what I intend my weekly note to achieve.
So without further hesitation or preparation, the mission of LEO Weekly is: to incite/encourage/evoke/elicit/provoke conversations regarding local, state and national issues that affect our community, and through thoughtful, passionate discussion, to collectively promote positive change and progress in our community.
The only way to promote change is to tackle issues directly. That is what LEO has done for 25 years. Whether they are issues of race, religion, sexual orientation, social or economic inequalities or simply speaking truth to power, and making those in power uncomfortable, we are here to tell stories in ways that other media in Louisville cannot.
That said, we do not claim to have all the answers, or the final answers. We are a conversation starter, not a stopper. From time to time, we might drop the mic, or drop the ball, but the change comes from the conversations had after we’ve said our piece. This is why LEO does not delete comments from our comments section on our website or social media (with some consideration for the libelous and obscene). This is why I don’t respond to all who disagree with my columns. My word should never be the final word. That should be your word, because yours is the perspective that matters most.
As for the Editor’s Note, that is my column, and one of many in every issue. My column is just as likely to offer the same opinion as other commentary in the issue as it is to take a different point of view.
I want my column to be interesting, thoughtful, accurate and, at its best, insightful. A successful Editor’s Note should ignite a conversation. And that is why I was so happy to see the tremendous response to my Bernie column. No, I don’t like to antagonize LEO readers or incite anger (I’m not a Rush Limbaugh or Bill O’Reilly type). But I believe the most important thing I can possibly do is to create interest, and challenge you to think about important, timely issues.
LEO should be a platform for the entire community to discuss the issues of the day (every week). We not only want a diversity of voices, but we want a diversity of views and opinions. For instance, we recently ran two columns discussing the U.S. Senate race, one by a Democrat and the other by a Republican.
Am I progressive? Absolutely. Do I try to push conservatives to consider the progressive point of view? As quickly as I can get a weekly paper to print.
That said, liberals (myself included) need to be challenged just as much as do conservatives. (Well maybe not just as much, but occasionally.) So during a week when Bernie is coming to town and everyone is focused on the primary, you can expect that I am going to write my honest opinion about Bernie, as well as provide my most accurate perspective on his campaign. That is just my opinion, and I don’t speak for anyone else. Most important, I do not speak for any other writers, and I will defend publishing their commentary regardless of whether I agree. As long as they are fair and accurate (and eccentric), they are welcome here.
For 25 years, LEO has challenged traditional and mainstream thinking. It has a long history of providing entertaining commentary on any subject it finds interesting, relevant and timely. As I first wrote when I started here 22 months ago, regardless of anything else, we are going to have fun, and we won’t take ourselves too seriously. LEO remains Louisville’s dependable, albeit eccentric, source for arts and entertainment news, in addition to providing news and analysis that you will not find anywhere else. And if you disagree with us, it’s up to you to let us know. We like hearing from every corner of the community: We depend on it. And you never know … we may just publish it.