Associated Press

Over the past year, the Deseret News has published at least one editorial and column or op-ed each day, covering a variety of topics.

Here is a look at the 10 most popular Deseret News editorials and the 10 most popular columns or op-eds from the past year. These articles received more page views than the rest.

The list starts with the most popular editorials and concludes with the most popular columns and op-eds. Each section starts at the 10th most popular item and concludes with the most popular piece.

Only the first few paragraphs of each article are included in this list, but hyperlinks are provided to each article in its entirety.

Deseret News editorials
Associated Press

Here are the 10 most popular Deseret News editorials from 2013.

#10-No easy answers to end tragedies like the one at Sandy Hook
Associated Press

Our recent editorial about filmmaker Quentin Tarantino and the negative impact his ultraviolent movies have had on the national culture sparked a tremendous amount of responses, some of them heated., a humor-themed news aggregator website, labeled the piece "stupid" and derisively claimed that the Deseret News had taken the position that "we all know that if we stopped killing each other in movies, then death would just take a holiday."

Would that it were so.

If there were a way to end the tragedies like the one at Sandy Hook once and for all, then this newspaper, along with all people of good will, would do everything possible to make it happen. The harder, messier reality is that no such simple solutions exist. If they did, they'd already be in place. Instead, we're left to muddle through and try to cobble together piecemeal approaches to an intractable problem. That's not nearly as emotionally satisfying as a one-size-fits-all magic fix, but that's the only way to make any progress.

Click here to read the rest of the editorial.

#9-Marijuana should not be made legal
Associated Press

Following in the footsteps of Colorado and Washington, where voters legalized the recreational use of marijuana in last year’s election, four other states — California, Alaska, Oregon and Arizona — have similar measures on the ballot this year.

That may be an inevitable consequence of the federal government indicating it will stand aside and allow such laws, even though they run afoul of federal laws. But Americans need to think twice before jumping on this bandwagon.

Marijuana is a harmful drug. That much is beyond dispute, no matter what the drug’s advocates say. It is particularly harmful to young people who begin smoking it regularly, but it also is harmful to adults. It is addictive.

Click here to read the rest of the editorial.

#8-Erosion of religious liberty
Denise Wilkins

Throughout history, devout religious believers have at times been forced from their homes by persecutors and made to seek refuge. Mormon pioneers, whose trek West is commemorated this month, are evidence that even in the United States, constitutional guarantees do not always protect the right to openly worship.

Now, despite generations during which that right — so grievously assaulted by Nazi forces during World War II — has been generally recognized in civilized countries, dark clouds seem to be gathering again.

A recent opinion poll by The Newseum Institute in Washington, D.C., found that one-third of Americans feel the Constitution's First Amendment goes too far in granting freedoms, including the freedom of religion. This alarming figure represents a jump from 13 percent who held that view only last year.

Click here to read the rest of the editorial.

#7-Room for compromise
Associated Press

Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, with regard to the current budget standoff, said, “We are at one of the most dangerous points in our history right now. Every bit as dangerous as the break-up of the Union before the Civil War.”

That’s exponentially exaggerating the gravity of the nation’s current situation, which shows no signs of degenerating into interstate combat. What it does demonstrate, however, is that hyperbolic rhetoric seems to increase as comity and compromise decrease.

The only way out of this crisis is for people on each side to tone down their speech and begin to compromise to some degree. And yet as of Wednesday both sides were digging in, hoping voters would blame the other side for failing to find the middle ground.

Click here to read the rest of the editorial.

#6-Obamacare needs a doctor
Associated Press

“If you like your plan, you can keep your plan. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” So said President Barack Obama on March 15, 2010, at a rally in Strongsville, Ohio, in support of the Affordable Care Act.

It wasn’t the only time he made such statements. In dozens of other locations and settings, he repeated variations of both of these statements to reassure the electorate that attacks on his signature health care reform legislation were groundless, and that no one would be forced to give up an insurance plan they liked.

Yet three years later, hundreds of thousands of Americans are receiving letters from their insurance providers telling them their policies have been cancelled under Obamacare’s new requirements, and many of them will be forced to choose a new doctor.

Click here to read the rest of the editorial.

#5-Ruling in DOMA case needless, thoughtless, damaging
Associated Press

This week the U.S. Supreme Court inserted itself into the heart of America's contentious and evolving national conversation about the nature of marriage. But instead of offering a thoughtful framework for the accommodation of the complex moral issues and the many legitimately engaged voices involved in that conversation, Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing on behalf of five justices, borrowed the phraseology of constitutional law to issue a polemical ultimatum against those who cherish how traditional marriage unites men and women for the benefit of children.

Kennedy's decision in Windsor v. United States, a challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, was needless, thoughtless and damaging.

Needless because the court should not have even reached the merits of the so-called case before it; thoughtless because it failed to provide a recognizable rationale for its holding; and damaging because it has the effect of stifling meaningful dialogue about the nature and purpose of marriage.

Click here to read the rest of the editorial.

#4-Not without consequences

A fire-obsessed culture may be expected to smile wryly at pyromaniacs and smirk at those who carelessly tempt fate by sloshing about with flammable liquids. Its cultural elite might laugh with condescension at people who wanted such dangerous behavior contained.

Only to outside observers would they appear as the hypocrites they are when they react with shock and horror as buildings catch fire.

In recent days, many in the United States have reacted with varying degrees of shock or disapproval at young singer Miley Cyrus' disgusting performance at the MTV Music Video Awards, which were broadcast over that cable network. We agree with that reaction, but we're wondering how many of them understand the hypocrisy of being shocked by the visual display of something they have casually tolerated in song lyrics and television and movie scripts for so long.

Click here to read the rest of the editorial.

#3-Obamacare's disastrous rollout overshadowed by budget dispute
Associated Press

House Republicans have said they would be willing to end the government shutdown if President Obama would agree to delay implementing the Affordable Care Act for another year. The president has refused to negotiate on that issue, insisting that implementation of Obamacare go forward without delay.

The problem is that reality doesn't seem to be cooperating with the president's agenda.

It's impossible to deny that the online launch of the president's health insurance marketplaces has been nothing short of disastrous. A recent poll shows that three-quarters of those who tried to enroll in the exchanges encountered problems in the process. A solid majority of those polled believed the rollout of the exchanges has gone poorly, with only 7 percent saying the rollout went extremely well or very well.

Those are pretty discouraging numbers.

Click here to read the rest of the editorial.

#2-Time magazine's deceptive fantasy of the child-free life

Time magazine's attention grabbing cover story last week sported a smiling, carefree couple lounging on a beach under the headline "The Childfree Life: When having it all means not having children."

It was a reprise on the banal fantasy peddled by soap operas, romance novels and vacation brochures: romantic fulfillment with ample resources and zero demands from pestering kids.

Despite its allure, it would be disastrous for our collective prosperity and character were this conceit of childless fulfillment to become a commonplace lifestyle.

Like many cover stories, this article about an increasing number of Americans not having children was not what was precisely hyped on the cover. For one, the poignant accounts of social isolation experienced by many of the childless adults profiled wouldn't match most people's conception of "having it all." And much of the article discussed issues of childlessness for single women rather than chosen childlessness for couples.

Click here to see the rest of the editorial.

#1-The lessons learned from Zimmerman trial
Associated Press

If there is a greater cultural message to be gleaned from the much-publicized trial of George Zimmerman it is that young black men will be treated with suspicion in too many parts of America regardless of how innocent they may be.

Racial profiling continues to be a problem in this country, influencing perceptions and standing as a barrier against fairness and equal treatment.

Unfortunately the tragic incident at hand, in which Zimmerman confronted and ultimately killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin during an altercation, is not the vehicle to further discussions on how to deal with this problem. It was a vehicle to determine whether Zimmerman's actions rose to the level of a crime. In a nation that values the rule of law, such a proceeding should never take on the emotional aspects of revenge. It must confine itself to facts and evidence.

Click here to see the full editorial.

Columns and op-eds
Associated Press

Here are the 10 most popular columns and op-eds from 2013.

#10-Jenet Jacob Erickson: A woman's education is not wasted in the home

As a college student, I spent part of a summer teaching health and sanitation to schoolchildren in a mountain village in Guatemala. The knowledge was needed; the situation was desperate. But after the first day I learned an important lesson about the limitations of our work. To improve the health and wellbeing of a community, the education of children is helpful. But the education of mothers—those who inculcate values and practices into the hearts and minds of the next generation—is vital.

Experience and study in the years that followed confirmed that reality over and over again. A mother’s implementation of ordinary, daily practices of health and safety make her the central influence in preserving and nurturing life. A mother’s use of language in ordinary interactions expressing, explaining, and questioning make her the most significant influence in a child’s cognitive development. And a mother’s sensitivity and responsiveness to emotion make her the foundation of a child’s social-emotional strength. That is why her education matters so much. In critical ways, it is continuously woven into the hearts, minds, and bodies of her children.

Click here to read the rest of the op-ed.

#9-Matthew Sanders: Can we have chivalry in the BYU vs. Utah rivalry?
Tom Smart, Deseret news

For generations, the football game between BYU and the University of Utah brings out a flood of color matched only by the leaves turning.

Fans bedeck cars, yards and kids in red or blue signs, flags, paint and shirts. On game day, the freeway clogs either northbound or southbound. Fans and former players argue about the superiority of their team. Friends make bets, offices hold pools and pranks abound. Teams ignore media and painfully try to find something nice to say about one another. It is rivalry week on the Wasatch front.

In totality, the rivalry brings out good-natured competition. But at times it also seems to harrow up the worst among us.

Click here to read the rest of the op-ed.

#8-Matthew Sanders: The Atlantic is super-wrong for using 'fascist' label in Superman story
The Atlantic

And so it’s come to this? The Atlantic is equating someone for his belief in traditional, time-honored marriage with the 20th century’s most heinous mass murderers?

Featured by The Atlantic's online editors as a top story, Noah Berlatsky's article labels Orson Scott Card and anyone who shares his belief and stance for traditional marriage as a bigot and a fascist. Berlatsky is a gay activist who writes about comics and culture and understandably advocates for his ideals and beliefs.

Berlatsky opposes DC Comic's decision to allow the award-winning, best-selling science fiction writer Orson Scott Card to write for their Superman franchise. But instead of using thoughtful argument, Berlatsky hurls labels: bigoted and fascist, equating Superman and Card with the KKK and fascists. Yet, shortly thereafter, Berlatsky suggests that Superman is "supergood" and would never hate gays like Card and his type.

Click here to read the rest of the op-ed.

#7-Jay Evensen: Overpopulation? We should be so lucky
Associated Press

Jonathan Last refers to the overpopulation doomsayers — who, alas, seem ever to be with us — in language that certainly must be calculated to get under their skin.

“They are,” he says, “not selling science. They are selling a theological belief.”

His words have a touch of irony to them, considering overpopulation adherents have believed themselves on the side of science since Thomas Malthus wrote “An essay on the principles of population” in 1798. Never mind that his predictions of starvation and disease as a result of population growth have been thoroughly discredited by world history since then. Today’s believers hold to articles of faith concerning things like the earth’s carrying capacity.

Click here to read the rest of the op-ed.

#6-What if the government shuts down and nobody notices?
Associated Press

Back in the ‘60s, when being pseudo informed was more de rigueur than today, the young were prone to ask, “What if they gave a war and nobody came?”

Never mind they were actually quoting from a 1930s poem often attributed to the German poet Bertolt Brecht, who was attacking pacifists and speaking out for bravery. It served their purposes, so long as the rest of the poem wasn’t recited. And, as I said, people were pseudo informed.

Today, lots of people fall into the “uninformed and proud of it” category. If it doesn’t come across their iPod or smartphone, they don’t know about it, and it won’t come across those devices unless they expressly reach out and grab it.

Click here to read the rest of the op-ed.

#5-My View: Debt ceiling not our biggest problem
Associated Press

With all the current debate and anxiety about the federal government shutdown, we haven’t had time to prepare ourselves for the next fiscal cliff rapidly approaching — hitting the debt ceiling on Oct. 17. While some people may justifiably feel outrage that we need to raise the debt ceiling again, a simple look at the arithmetic of federal budgeting shows that a debt ceiling increase, while disturbing, is inevitable.

If you pass an annual budget that spends more than you bring in, you need to borrow the difference and that will increase your level of debt. It’s not the debt ceiling that’s the cause of the problem but the continuing habit of spending beyond our means and the resulting budget deficits. Even the very conservative Cato Institute recognizes that the problem is the amount of money the government is spending and that “deficits and debt … are symptoms of that problem.”

Due to a stronger economy and the effects of sequester, which automatically cut federal spending by $85 billion, this year’s budget deficit will be only $642 billion — down from the $1.3 trillion originally forecast. While everyone is congratulating each other for such a dramatic improvement, they seemingly fail to recognize that this $642 billion will have to be borrowed and inevitably, the debt ceiling increased.

Click here to read the rest of the op-ed.

#4-Richard Davis: Like it or not, Obamacare is here to stay
Associated Press

It has been three and a half years since President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (now commonly known as Obamacare). No other piece of legislation has experienced such a torturous path to implementation. Other major social policy changes – such as Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, food stamps, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) – all were acknowledged as the law of the land once passed by Congress and signed by the president.

But not Obamacare. Immediately after its passage, opponents challenged Obamacare in federal courts. The U.S. Supreme Court nixed forcing the states to expand Medicaid, but they upheld most of Obamacare. The law wasn’t unconstitutional after all.

Click here to read the rest of the op-ed.

#3-Richard Davis: Obamacare not as bad as its critics say it is
Associated Press

Obama Lied. My Health Plan Died. That is the new mantra of critics of President Obama in the wake of news that millions of Americans are receiving notices that their health insurance policies have been cancelled. He promised Americans that if they liked their current plan, they could keep it. So he lied.

It is true that when he was advocating for his plan back in 2009, President Obama did not say that those Americans with individual insurance policies that fall below the minimum threshold for adequate health care coverage will lose that insurance. He should have made that clear. Perhaps he was unaware how many policies would be affected.

Nevertheless, it is important to put into perspective what is happening. First, these were private policies individuals bought since 2010 because their employer did not provide coverage. These people wanted some kind of insurance and were desperate for policies that provided some coverage for them. Approximately three-fourths of Americans with health insurance are on employer-based plans. For the most part, those are not the plans affected by this mass cancellation notice.

Click here to read the rest of the op-ed.

#2-Mike Lee: History's lesson and warning
Associated Press

As Congress begins to consider new gun legislation this spring, it's important for citizens and lawmakers to keep two basic facts in mind.

Gun control isn't about guns — it's about control. And the right to bear arms isn't about the arms — it's about the right.

These facts may be ignored in Washington, D.C., where there is no hunting to speak of, and every government building is protected by armed guards. They are not lost on the American people, however.

Click here to read the rest of the op-ed.

#1-Robert Bennett: Republicans shoot themselves in the foot
Associated Press

As I write this, there is still no deal on the shutdown or debt limit. I can't predict what will happen over the weekend, but I can comment on how this all came to be.

When the end of the fiscal year approached, just ahead of the date when we hit the debt limit, polls showed that a majority of Americans disapproved of Obamacare and some Republicans thought the time and circumstances were ripe to force its "defunding." Many conservative voices, including some very seasoned political observers, disagreed, saying it would be a very bad move politically, but they were ignored and the confrontation came.

The doubters were right. The strategy shifted the public's attention away from the shortcomings of Obamacare over to a discussion of the merits of the government shutdown, stepping on the original message. Obamacare's troublesome start on Oct. 1, which validated Republican arguments that it is a very poorly written law, went virtually unnoticed because public opinion hated the shutdown more than it hated Obamacare. Most of the blame for the situation has been attributed to Republicans. Yes, the president's approval rating has dropped, but Republican approval numbers have dropped far more.

Click here to read the rest of the op-ed.

Most popular letters to the editor
Associated Press

See the 20 most popular letters to the editor from 2013.