Editor’s Note: This is the first Fast Talk ever published from the Sept. 6, 1962 edition of the Patterson Irrigator by Ron Swift.

A shroud of secrecy, if extended over a period of time, develops a sinister atmosphere … or one where cloak-and-dagger techniques would not seem out of the ordinary.

It wasn’t quite that bad, but we had been living in Patterson several weeks before the sale of the Irrigator was announced. We were downtown a great deal, talked with many of Patterson’s businessmen, and asked plenty of questions. And we couldn’t tell a soul who we were, what we were doing, and why everything was under cover.

Quite naturally grocery clerks began to stare, post office employees raised their eyebrows each morning, waitresses became suspicious, bank clerks remained courteous but politely refrained from asking any further questions, and even our landlady (Louise DeLash) was in the dark.

After all, what could possibly be worse than a newspaper being “scooped” by word of mouth? Thus the sinister secret.

Or was it a secret?

Every newspaper, regardless of size, has a policy regarding politics. It usually corresponds with the political philosophy of the publisher.

Sometimes the philosophies show through very little because it is the policy of the paper to present both sides as best it can, possibly endorse favorite candidates, but yet refrain from giving “blanket endorsements” to an entire party and simply leave it up to the reader to make up his own mind on how he will cast his ballot.

Some newspapers regard themselves as “independents,” thus giving the connotation that they stand back and take a long look at every issue and candidate, and are not bound by political party affiliation. Some publishers even go so far as to break all former connections with one party or the other and actually register as Independent voters. This also gives them an excuse for not rushing to the polls during primary elections.

So the Irrigator, because of newspaper tradition, must indeed have a political policy to follow. One of enforced neutrality.

This writer waves the flag of the Grand Old Party. Being from Iowa (as the majority of Californians are), I didn’t hear of this country’s second party until I was 18 and had entered college.

It was there I met my first Democrat in Iowa – Ed Sternberg. I soon heard of another – state chairman of that noble party – via the newspapers. And then a third came along in the state. H ran for governor.

With only three of them, there were few riffs in the party. And with a vigorous campaign, they miraculously swung the rest of the state and elected Gov. Loveless. How they overcame the Republican majority, however, still remains the darkening disillusionment of my college days.

Thus we have a policy of enforced neutrality. Like Laos. Both of us being ardent political fans, we come away from political meetings with two different versions of the speeches. For the sake of getting along with one another both at the office and at home, we have long since eliminated political discussions from all conversations.

Not that you won’t see political news in the Irrigator. Tis state is noted for its political activities, and ignoring it would be ignoring life. Besides, as rabid as some unnamed people are, a few lines of “their side” will undoubtedly wind up in print. But you are guaranteed both sides if there are two sides to present.

All for one subscription price, too!

Enforced neutrality. For he who writes the editorial one week will be next be limited to writing this column and suffer the agony he himself started.

The past several weeks have been interesting ones for us in Patterson. Take one 10-dayperiod, for instance. The momentous occasions occurred.

This area was blessed with a visit by the president of the United States. I doesn’t happen every day.

We lunched with gubernatorial candidate Richard Nixon (at the Del Puerto Hotel).

While visiting the Stanislaus County Fair with (Publisher) Ira Kaplan, a black limousine pulled up and out stepped Miss California of 1962, whose beauty we could not deny.

So we each batted .667 for the 10 days. Two out of three isn’t bad in any league.

It’s our belief that with a weekly newspaper, we are all able to sit back, watch Patterson and the rest of the world go by, and see the funny side of life. If we can chuckle at it, or with it, so much the better. This column is dedicated to the purpose.

And many times the humorous side is more truthful anyway!

We hope that those of you we haven’t yet met (and there are many) will feel free to drop in at the office and say “hello.” Or stop us on the street. By this time names and faces are a bit tangled up, but if you’ll bear with us, everything will straighten out soon.

PI editor/publisher emeritus

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