Happy New Year

I realize that I write lots of letters and articles to the Sun-Gazette. In fact, far too many for people’s liking. Sorry about that.

I do so for four reasons. First is that most people in our area hold exclusively to this community’s political group-think that coincides with daily talking points broadcast faithfully by Fox News about goings-on in the world and our political life. The reaction I get from friends and acquaintances who hold these views is usually a disapproving, stern “I read your letter to the editor.”

But I’m pleased that these people faithfully read my stuff, even if they disapprove. I write to remind these readers that they do not have a monopoly on the truth and that, however unwelcome, there are folks in this area who see things differently than they do.

Secondly, I write because those aforementioned local folks whose opinions are at odds with the majority represent a sizable minority. Many, however, are afraid to express their views publicly, because they fear the consequences that might ensue in their workplaces, and in social and family circles. I’m often encouraged by the few who do express their perspectives even when they differ from majority opinion.

Thirdly, there are my faithful “fans”…my real readership. They are a half dozen or so folks who regularly inveigh against me and my views in their own letters to the editor. At the risk of sounding patronizing,

I find they invariably favor the grand generalizations and sound bites of a world of “alternative facts”, and are averse to the ambiguity, nuance and paradox of stark reality. They evidence but scant acquaintance with objectivity. They are not uninformed. They are selectively over-informed. You might say they have been Outfoxed.

Their versions of the news have more of an affinity to the reporting of Jeannine Pirro, Greg Gutfeld and the recently totally unhinged Sean Hannity than they do with those of Shepard Smith, Chris Wallace or Factcheck. They either deflect from the subject at hand by drawing attention to something unrelated (“what about this or that”), dismiss a position with no consideration of its merits (“that’s just liberal nonsense’) or call people names (“communist and atheist” are favorites but pejoratives like “liberal” and” leftie” also pepper their responses.)

Without these logical fallacies, they have nothing useful to say.

Nevertheless. At year’s end, I’d like to thank them publicly for all the time and effort they’ve put into reading and rejecting me and my thoughts so addictively and out of hand. I often get frustrated feeling that “I can explain it for them but I cannot understand it for them.”

Still, I have banished the thought of discontinuing my letters and articles because I appreciate all their time and effort. Their unceasing compulsive attention and criticism motivate me to keep at it. They are my real readership and I thank them for their unintended encouragement.

And finally, whatever grievances folks may have about this paper’s editorial page editor, he has given me a lot of space to express views that are often, if not almost always, at variance with opinions expressed in Sun-Gazette editorials, syndicated columnists, and most of the paper’s readers. I appreciate having the opportunity of expressing a contrarian view.

Tim Mannello

Williamsport

Submitted by E-Mai

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