Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Readers divided on Keillor decision

It's happened to each of us at one time or another:

You purchase something, only to discover that it was not the product or service you expected.

Garrison Keillor, a gifted essayist and storyteller, started a newspaper column last summer. The Telegraph Herald subscribed, believing the syndicate's pitch that it would be along the lines of his wonderful stories on his radio program, "A Prairie Home Companion." We placed his column in the Lifestyle section.

However, with increasing frequency, Keillor used his column not to weave entertaining tales but to rail against President Bush's administration.

Our roster for columnists to comment on political affairs is full. I wanted a writer to amuse and entertain, for our Lifestyle section, but Keillor apparently has other ideas. Keillor is a wonderful writer; I just don't need more political commentary (especially in Lifestyle). That would be the case whether he was espousing conservative or liberal views.

Absent a change in direction for the column, Keillor has left the TH lineup.

My announcement in the Telegraph Herald has sparked divided opinion. Some readers have complained, arguing, among other things that I am just trying to squelch the "truth" about the Bush administration. I think other writers, with stronger experience and qualifications, are carrying that load just fine. Other readers have offered thanks for the change.

I anticipated that this move would not be universally accepted. It was not 100 percent popular when we carried Keillor's political writings.

The complaints go with the territory.

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