Letter to the editor: Words matter

The purpose of this letter is to discuss the reporting performance of Valley Courier reporter, Sylvia Lobato in the article titled, “Conjeos County passes six-month kennel moratorium,” dated June 23, 2018. I want to be clear that I am not writing to discuss the issue about dog kennels.

Three citizens, Rueben Mast, Lonnie Yoder and Lavern Coblentz appropriately and responsibly applied to Conejos County for special use permits. County officials used due diligence and official processes to address the applications. Here is the issue: In the first sentence of the article the three citizens, Rueben Mast, Lonnie Yoder and Lavern Coblentz are identified as “Amish animal breeders.”

Now, fellow Valley Courier readers what would you think if the first sentence had introduced the citizen as “Catholic animal breeders” or “Mormon animal breeders”? If you are like me, you might wonder, “What in the world does the religion of the citizens have to do with the issue?” You might conclude like I did that the reporter is setting the stage for some kind of bias. If that is the case, then this seems to be at least religious discrimination and at worst religious persecution.

We might ask, “What can be done about this?” My suggestion, at the least the reporter should be reprimanded by her employer. Also, I think the reporter would need to think about to whom she should apologize and she might start by apologizing to the readers of the Valley Courier.

Just wondering if anyone else had a similar reaction as I did!

Dr. Elden Daniel

Monte Vista


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