As somebody who writes 50-odd opinion columns a year, I understand that criticism, the odd abuse-laden letter and angry phone calls come as part of the territory.
Different opinions are at the crux of most constructive arguments whether it be about politics, sport, entertainment or the general news cycle.
But enraged criticism of somebody just for expressing their view is something I will never understand.
I’m not saying I agree with Sonia Kruger’s comments on Channel Nine today that Muslim immigration into Australia should be banned, but why has expressing her opinion on – wait for it – an opinion panel, attracted so much angst?
It seems to have become commonplace in the Australian media that if anyone expresses an opinion outside of the accepted politically correct view, they’re heavily criticised and attacked.
Kruger’s comments were the lead story on The Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph and Sydney Morning Herald websites today, feeding the media’s obsession with reporting on itself.
The suggestion that she “courted controversy” (SMH) is ridiculous. She gave her view on a panel that asks for opinions. How dare she!
Her response on social media on Monday afternoon in the face of some fairly hefty criticism was defiant and should be applauded.
“I believe it’s vital in a democratic society to be able to discuss these issues without automatically being labelled racist,” she said.
Too often the response to comments like Kruger’s is hypocritical in that it desperately attempts to label the writer or speaker racist when in reality they’re having an opinion often based on years of life experience, conversations with others and detailed thought.
And it’s not just about race and religion.
I’ve written before that I strongly support same-sex marriage, but I also understand and accept the arguments of those who are against it, even though I strongly disagree.
Maybe I’m just the ultimate Devil’s advocate but the old adage that there’s two sides to every story generally rings true on most social issues.
Kruger’s desire to stop Muslim immigration into Australia may indeed be a step too far, but she has every right to have that view and express her opinion, particularly in the wake of yet more terror atrocities.
Social media has been filled with “#prayfornice” over the past week, but we eventually need to realise that God isn’t going to fix this.
Given the enormity and complexity of terrorism around the world, expressing a view on how best to combat it should not be howled down in criticism.
It’s troubling that an issue like this can’t be discussed without it descending into name calling, labelling and attempts to bring individuals down.
The days of having an opinion outside of the politically correct box seem to be numbered, if they’re not over already.
And I feel we’ll be all the poorer for it.
Troy Dodds is the Weekender’s Managing Editor and Senior Writer. He has more than 15 years experience as a journalist, working with some of Australia’s leading media organisations.