« Return to this article

Know the West

We’ll keep covering the West’s politics



Below are readers’ responses to the editor’s note by Editor-in-Chief Brian Calvert in our April 3 issue, in which he addressed recent criticism of our coverage of “divisive” political issues. 

I appreciated your editor’s note about the mix of politics and High Country News. In today’s polarized political environment, we tend to be more sensitive to statements that support or conflict with our political views. It’s us, not you, who have a problem. We seek out what validates and lash out at what challenges those views. As long as HCN continues to provide the wide range of topics pertaining to our fast- and ever-changing West, you are providing a worthwhile journalistic endeavor. Let us be the fools who wish to be judgmental about any motive. 

Marshall Brown
Draper, Utah

Your editor’s note is Reality 101 for the Westerners it serves. It is because politics often controls Western newspapers that Tom Bell founded High Country News. When he advocated for the lands and people of the West, he discovered the message was being controlled by those exploiting the state that he loved. 

As most advocates, including myself, have discovered, land use is always dictated by politics. Years ago, I was testifying at a hearing on a Forest Service matter. With fire in my belly, I denounced their plans. Afterwards, a ranger chided me: “We do as we are told by our bosses, who are told what to do by the party in power in Washington. If you want changes, change the party in power.” 

If you want to know the agenda of our political parties, read their platforms.  There is a vast difference between the two major parties.  If you love the lands and people of the West, you can’t ignore politics.  

Barbara Parsons
Rawlins, Wyoming

I so strongly agree with editor Brian Calvert’s defense of keeping politics in the publication that I read no further until I sent this message. I support 100 percent everything he said. All of us have to speak out against what President Donald Trump is doing to our country. Thank you for not backing down.

Ray Witter
Camas, Washington

Many thanks for your forthright response regarding the environmental politics of the West, which are in fact more complicated than many of us know. From my time a long time ago as a congressional intern for Mo Udall of southern Arizona, I relearned a lesson as old as our country as a whole: Uniting in common cause to preserve our irreplaceable natural heritage — while still being able to make a sustainable living off it — knows no political party and has no common allegiance except to the principle of living in ongoing peace with our surroundings. Both Republican and Democratic leaders have made huge sacrifices for this cause, and both Republican and Democratic leaders have devoted well-paid careers to destroying it.

Lloyd Burton
Denver, Colorado

This nation and all of its natural resources are in grave danger. While the current administration is so obviously a complete failure, the real danger doesn’t reside in the White House. More than likely, this administration will be gone in four years or less. The real long-term danger to our country is the philosophical divide between the conservative right and the progressive left. Some argue both sides have some basic goals or common interests they could find agreement on, but my view is the divide has become too wide, too entrenched and too bitter, and that this divided country will soon fall. It is too sad to even contemplate, so most of us don’t. I grieve for my children and grandchildren. Please continue to bring factual news and commentary to those of us who believe it is better to be informed than ignorant.

Shelley Stallings
Ketchikan, Alaska