People ask me if critical letters to the editor published in The Mercury bother me. Not really. I know I’m right on all the positions I take in my columns, so why would the opinion of somebody who disagrees — and is therefore wrong — be of any concern?
Since I started writing columns on a regular basis about a year ago, I’ve received letters, phone calls and e-mails from more than 300 different readers. I emphasize "different" because some people — both admirers and critics — write me often. Two-thirds of the critical letters and e-mails I’ve received in the past year have come from about a dozen people. I guess it’s true what they say about squeaky wheels.
Of the 300 people who took the time to share their opinion on a column, 8 out of 10 agree with what I had to say. At a time when President Bush's approval rating hovers around 50 percent, an 80 percent approval rating is something any politician would salivate over.
People have a misperception about conservatives. It probably comes from the liberal bias of the news media. The people who tend to rave and rant are usually on the left of the political spectrum. These are the same folks who threatened to move to Canada if George W. Bush won the election, but I’m afraid most did not keep their word.
A lot of the people I hear from don’t want their letters published in the newspaper because we require publication of their full name and hometown. These readers have told me repeatedly that they fear harassment from left-wingers.
Today, I’d like to share a sampling of reader comments just from the past two weeks. These are the actual words of readers. The only thing I’ve left out is their identity.
"It is absolutely amazing that a newspaper actually allows you to print the truth, no matter how un-politically correct the rest of the world might view it."
"Great column!!! I was worried that the liberals broke in to your building and kidnapped you!!! It has been a while since I last read one of your pieces. Keep spreading the word."
"Tony: Your article was beautifully crafted, first word to last and powerful."
"Great article about Churchill. It is irritating that he isn't fired on the spot. The University of Colorado hardly needs this bad news on top of all the other crap going on there. However, there must be an attitude from the top there, that is causing all of their problems. I hope the Governor can straighten it out and force Churchill's firing and future life in a teepee! Thanks again for your write-up."
"Another masterpiece Tony. Regarding academia and liberalism, we need to create a system that ranks universities according to their degree of liberalism. Maybe a 1 could represent right wingers and a 99 could represent Teddy K., Kerry, Hillary and Ward. Someone really needs to spearhead this effort so that we have a choice on where our kids receive their education from."
"Fantastic viewpoint on Ted Kennedy, but an even better one on how the liberals got it wrong. Keep up the good work and great writing style."
"God Bless You, Tony!!! The public deserves quality music and record companies will not provide so long as they can keep dishing out no-talent, "hack" artists like Ashlee to gullible audiences. United, we can bring an end to her auditory reign of terror!"
"I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the truthful comic relief that your column provides me."
"Just wanted to respond to your Kennedy piece in The Mercury today. You are right on target with that buffoon. If the Democratic party was smart, they would abduct that guy and hide him in a cave somewhere to shut him up. He alienates voters every time he speaks."
"I find it amazing that after all this time of my disagreeing with your anti-Democrat and pro-Republican (even more so than Ann Coulter) columns you finally have come up with a column I agree with. Today's column regarding Ted Kennedy and Hillary."
"Tony, You hit a HOME RUN with this one. I forwarded three copies of it, already, to some of my "vast right wing conspiracy" friends! I laughed out loud reading about some of the "libs." So true!"
"Great piece about Teddy behind the wheel! Keep it up ... don't let the letters from the ignorant left discourage you. Empty barrels make the most noise."
"Thanks for your many articles, especially Kennedy at the wheel & liberals get it wrong. Thanks for the use of names, statements made and actions taken by the politicians and journalists of the left. Not being a journalist, I appreciate your putting my very thoughts in print for me."
"Way to go Tony! Keep up the good work you great American!"
"I loved the article you wrote in the Feb. 01, 05 Mercury about that disgusting Ted Kennedy and I couldn't agree with you more. Also really like your description of Mass. that should go down as a classic. Keep up the good work and thanks."
"Tony, Enjoy your column. I love the way you point out the hypocritical rhetoric of the liberal left. I cannot understand how people can be duped, falling for this dribble time and time again. Rendell is definitely a graduate of the "ista" school, whose motto is" Don't ask what you can do for mankind but what can mankind do for me." Ista graduates don't hesitate to out ista each other. When he was in the Clinton camp as honorary Democratic chairman and the inventor of the Internet lost. He said that Clinton's impeachment was the cause of Gore losing. A high official in the Democrat Party said "I wouldn't want to be in a fox hole with Ed Rendell."
"Dear Mr. Phyrillas, I felt compelled to say that I thank you for your publication today on Gov. Rendell. On a day where every one feels bad for our state executive because his team lost (boo-hoo), someone should state how much he is sticking us when working his "second job." As a college journalist at Bloomsburg University and as an intern in the state capitol, this is a topic that I have covered and continue to do so. Your article will serve me greatly in my addressing of the situation in the future. Please continue doing what you have been!"
"May God Bless you and thanks again. I always look forward to reading your column."
E-mail Tony Phyrillas at firstname.lastname@example.org