I broke my first rule of viewer opinions, which is never respond to viewer opinions beyond a thank you.
A viewer e-mailed the 6:30 last night in response to our In Depth look at Afghanistan. While sharing about his sun just returning from a tour there, he basically accused us of being irresponsible by talking only to the heads of the military and not the soldiers who’ve served there. He also said we have no right to ask viewers for their opinions, unless the viewer is a soldier who’s served in Afghanistan.
I often disagree with the opinions shared with the 6:30. While I respect an individual’s right to an opinion, I do not respect an opinion that’s not grounded in facts, but is based on misinformation or blatantly ignoring the facts. It is my job to provide the facts on which an opinion can be made. It bothers me greatly when someone sees a show I’ve produced and then e-mails us with thoughts that directly contradict the facts included in the show. However, I do not respond to opinions. I read them, acknowledge that it’s merely someone’s opinion and I move on. As a rule, I do not respond with my own thoughts as it only stirs up trouble. I respect that a viewer has an opinion and value that he or she has shared it with us regardless of whether or not I agree with the opinion.
Accusations, however, are another story. I have trouble letting pointed accusations slide. Despite my better judgment, I respond to them and point out the errors made within the statements of blame. It rarely goes well, as it didn’t with the viewer saying we are irresponsible in our coverage of Afghanistan. It inevitably gets personal. I do, however, end the back and forth in the same way, with self deprecation and apology regardless of whether or not I’m right. But, it would be better if I simply didn’t reply in the first place. :-( Live and learn.