This feedback forum is designed to give readers a way to voice criticisms and compliments or ask questions about The Californian’s news coverage. Your questions — which may be edited for space — are answered here each Saturday by The Californian’s Robert Price.
Reader: On Dec. 1, The Bakersfield Californian published the results of a murder case in San Francisco. The case concerned a Mexican illegal alien that allegedly killed a young woman a couple of years ago on the streets of the city.
This case is huge. Enormous national interest and political concerns galore. The Bakersfield Californian reported the results of this case in a 137-word blurb (not a full article) on Page 17. This case has caused unbelievable commentary from all over the nation.
On Dec. 2, The Californian reported on Page One, in a huge article and blazing headline, there is concern as to where Charles Manson is to be buried.
And yet, Bob Price keeps telling us how fair The Bakersfield Californian is in their political commentary.
— Don Craib
Price: I'm not sure how one has anything to do with the other. We strive to deliver even-handed political commentary in our Opinion section; that is, we try to publish an equal number of conservative and liberal viewpoints. We're not always successful but, believe me, that's a consistent goal.
Now, what on earth does that have to do with how we positioned two news stories? The verdict out of San Francisco involving the undocumented immigrant whose actions led to the death of Kate Steinle was indeed a big story, but it was not a local story. That's what we do here — Bakersfield, the one thing we do better than anyone. And the San Francisco Chronicle covered the Steinle case considerably better than we did.
The disposition of Charles Manson's body, although it generated a lot of national and international interest, is an ongoing local story. Unless a court-authorized person hauls Charlie's remains elsewhere, he could well wind up in Kern County permanently.
Opinion, news. Local, not local. Am I missing something?
Reader: This is in regard to your Dec. 7 article, “Help the Elf with creative printouts.” In it, you wrote how the Elf was a bane to parents and gave tips on how to place it, etc. Basically outed it as fiction put on by parents. I am afraid that you do not realize that your subscribers have children who still believe and also read your newspaper. We have three children, ages 7 to 12, who believe in the magic of the Elf and also Santa. All three also read the paper. Fortunately I disposed of the Dec. 7 edition before they saw the story. Prior to writing you I discussed this with my wife. She recalled past articles where The Californian outed Santa.
I ask that you exercise some discretion and consider your entire reading audience.
Price: I know we've covered this, but I think it's necessary that I explain: We publish these stories about managing the holidays for adults, especially including parents, not kids. But I am thrilled beyond words that you have a 7-year-old reading the paper. Perhaps a parental advisory sticker (remember those?) is in order. I'm serious.
Reader: Please, if possible, find another columnist similar to Garrison Keillor to fill the gap caused by his dismissal. I really need a voice from The Californian Opinion pages to counteract Stephen Moore's affinity for Mr. Trump.
— Midge Bradford
Price: I've been looking, Midge, but it's not going well. Keillor is a one of a kind — funny in an erudite sort of way and, though he's liberal, not a hit-you-over-the-head type. I'll keep you posted.
Reader: I'm beginning to be convinced by the repetitive claims of a liberal bias in The Californian. You are liberal, after all. In recent months, you have been excessively liberal in your use of the word "whom."
This word, in my judgment, is of limited use, and, in any case, should be used only when it is appropriate. By that I mean it should be a word of last resort. It should be used in a formula, like "To Whom It May Concern." In all other cases, it should be used only when absolutely unavoidable.
Non-journalists can safely use "who," in almost all cases. Lawyers, of course, need the word, though they may also use it incorrectly.
— Larry Dunn
Reader: It’s been 80-some years since my fourth-grade teacher taught: “Never end a sentence with a preposition.” If the sentence in which you recently misused "who" were properly constructed, it would have read: “to whom I am referring.” Hope this ends the controversy!
— Agnes Scrivano
Price: I've been besieged with tips on how to keep those two in their proper places, and the "he-who, him-whom" trick is one of them. But it doesn't always fit the situation.
Let's face it. My understanding of the English language is generally average or slightly above, but I have a blind spot here. Send condolences, not advice.