Sunday, May 22, 2005

Paper Eliminates Free Speech

Dear Editor:

You guys have done some pretty strange things in the past; cancelled Molly Ivins in an election year, engaged in selective reporting, allowed the wires to dictate your content, ignored third-party candidates, eliminated your online forum and continuously glorified our violence against the civilian population of Iraq.

Now, you’re out to destroy our only venue for free speech by eliminating the Letters to the Editor section. You already reduced letter size last year, claiming it would allow for “greater participation”. Sixty-one fewer letters have been printed this year.

In every paper, the “Letters” section exists to allow readers an opportunity to redress the common media practice of burying news or completely ignoring issues which the media, arrogantly, deems to be "unimportant". This practice also allows editorial staff to focus on diversionary fluff (which they so often seem to prefer).

Unfortunately, it seems you're no longer content with this rather traditional arrangement. In your cute, little “Its Debatable” section, you now get to decide what the issues are and allow us 50 words or so for readers to state their opinion. Issues chosen are usually brainless pap (teen drinking, Erin Dreyer, Jessica and the Prom, etcetera). I am pretty upset that our valuable “Letters” space, often the most interesting part of the paper, is now being eliminated to make space for this new, totally useless and ill-conceived, section.

Need I remind you that there is a war on?! People are being killed! Why on earth would you want to limit citizen voice at such a crucial juncture in our history? Our very democracy is at stake. All of your “corporate media” attempts to manipulate the agenda towards shallower topics is duly noted. I hope that you’re ashamed of yourselves for trying to limit discourse and encourage greater ignorance. Very un-American .... or is it?

Matt Funiciello

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