Absolutely no kind of political litmus test here, honest...

[UPDATE: This now looks like it may have been a genuine mistake - or at least some really careless writing - on the part of the Post-Crescent editorial team.  They have posted an updated editorial plea for letters at that same link, below.  Check it out. Credit to the Post-Crescent for acknowledging the ambiguity and attempting to correct it.]

This is really quite entertainingly astonishing.

From the editorial in last Tuesday's Post-Crescent - the local rag of Appleton, Neenah and Menasha, Wisconsin:

We need more letters to achieve a balance

Letters to the editor, a staple of The Post-Crescent's Views pages, are a way to take the political and social temperature of the Valley. A well-written letter allows readers to ponder different points of view, perhaps made more poignant because the author is someone you might know. At best, they should offer a full spectrum of beliefs and topics.

Recently, though, as the race for president heats up, we've been dealing with this quandary: How can we balance the perspectives and topics of our letters when many of our submissions have been coming only from one side?

We've been getting more letters critical of President Bush than those that support him. We're not sure why, nor do we want to guess. [My emphasis] But in today's increasingly polarized political environment, we would prefer our offering to put forward a better sense of balance.

Since we depend upon you, our readers, to supply our letters, that goal can be difficult. We can't run letters that we don't have.

Finally, a myth to dispel: We don't give our letters any sort of political litmus test to determine if they make it into print. If that were so, we wouldn't run letters that take swings at who we are and what we print. If you would like to help us "balance" things out, send us a letter, make a call or punch out an e-mail. Read the handy box at the bottom of the page for more information. We'd love to hear from you.

(There's a whole world of sub-text in those inverted commas around the word "balance", don't you think?)

So come on, all you shrinking violet republican epistolarians! The Post-Crescent needs your help, dammit!

(Thanks to Oliver Willis for the link, btw).