Sunday, June 04, 2006

Newspaper Encourages Readers to Phone Conservative Letter Writer

Apparently stung by recent criticism citing a lack of balance in the selection of letters to the editor, the Syracuse Post-Standard in its Sunday edition suggested that readers telephone the conservative reader who raised the issue.

From the Editor's note (emphasis added):
A close reading of last Sunday's Feedback response would make clear that Richard Lindsay has earned his record as "most prolific" from the number of letters he writes, not the number published. Just because we say it, does that make it true? Here's more specific information: Lindsay sent us four letters dated May 26; two more dated May 27; two dated May 28; two dated May 29. And so on. Still don't believe us? Why not give him a call?
While the paper stops short of providing Lindsay's telephone number, the suggestion to call him implies that Lindsay does not have an unlisted number, and, in fact, there are two Richard Lindsays listed in the Syracuse phone book.

Apart from the accusations of editorial bias in the selection of letters (members of the Syracuse Peace Council do seem to be pretty successful at getting their visceral hatred of the President published), why Lindsay, a conservative who often disagrees with the Post-Standard's left-leaning editorial policies, is singled out for criticism for being "prolific" is a mystery. Apparently, prolific liberal letter writers are concerned citizens, while prolific conservative letter writers are cranks.

In any case, for a daily newspaper to encourage its readers to harass a man for stating his opinions is irresponsible and outrageous, and seems more driven by pique than reasoned counter-argument.

Cross-posted at The Jawa Report.