This morning's front page of the Wheeling News-Register tells us that our two Wheeling "newspapers" won 17 awards in the 2016 West Virginia Press Association Better Newspaper Contest. Some of the awards that they won would be more important to those in the newspaper business than to the reading public -- advertising awards for example. Among the news and editorial award recipients was Mike Myer who won for an editorial, "Curb Discretion on DUI Cases," and a column, "Living in Fear on our Knees." I reread the winning editorial and it's well-developed with evidence. While I don't know what the exact criteria was for judging editorials, it does describe a problem and then suggests how it might be remedied.
On the other hand, I am at a complete loss to explain how Myer's column, written shortly after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, could be considered 2015's best newspaper column in West Virginia. The column is a typical Myer column: short on evidence and long on attacking arguments that no one made. I reread the column this morning. Early-on, I'm not completely certain what point Myer is trying to make. Here is part of what I said about the column back on my old blog in January 2015:
Myer finished his column by suggesting that we aren't all that brave because we're afraid to attack the Muslim religion:
So that's the question we ought to be asking ourselves: Have we decided we'll insist on standing up to people who won't hurt us - while bowing down to those who may?
Are we, in short, lying to the world and ourselves when we proclaim "Je suis Charlie"?
No, we're not afraid as Republicans, conservatives, and Fox News have demonstrated on a daily basis for a number of years. Each insists that most of the time we should use the word "radical" in front of "Islam" not so much to differentiate it from "non-radical Islam" but to suggest that the religion is, by its very nature, "radical." And the next step, demonizing as murderers and terrorists all who practice a religion based upon the actions of a few is, I believe, what the president and the pope were talking about when they asked us to be cautious in attacking a religion. Maybe Myer was right that we don't produce anti-Islam cartoons; he misses badly, however, if his point was that we're afraid to criticize the religion.
Straw men. No evidence. Irrelevant points. Yes, that's what makes an award-winning column.