Teacher's Ramblings

A potpourri of education, politics, family matters, and current events.

Monday, October 11, 2004

NY Times-Public Ombudsman

I hesitated to write on this yesterday. Upfront I will admit to writing a note to Mr. Okrent admitting that his job seems to be filled with even less respect, from readers, than mine, from parents. I agree with many in the blogosphere that there does seem to be the argument that 'if they are all complaining' we must be doing something right, no doubt a fallacy in logic.

However, what I liked is the last few paragraphs:

This piece turned out to be more of a rant than I intended, but given the vicious nature of some of the attacks levied against certain reporters, I wasn't inclined to be temperate. There are many critics of The Times's election coverage who are measured and reasonable, and their views - very different from my own - will be represented in this space next week. I also don't wish to discourage readers who in good faith find errors, misrepresentations or unfair characterizations. They may occur randomly, but their frequency is disappointing, and I'll continue to forward meritorious complaints to the appropriate editors and reporters. Many will find expression in the corrections column, or in this one.
But before I turn over the podium, I do want you to know just how debased the level of discourse has become. When a reporter receives an e-mail message that says, "I hope your kid gets his head blown off in a Republican war," a limit has been passed.

That's what a coward named Steve Schwenk, from San Francisco, wrote to national political correspondent Adam Nagourney several days ago because Nagourney wrote something Schwenk considered (if such a person is capable of consideration) pro-Bush. Some women reporters regularly receive sexual insults and threats. As nasty as critics on the right can get (plenty nasty), the left seems to be winning the vileness derby this year. Maybe the bloggers who encourage their readers to send this sort of thing to The Times might want to ask them instead to say it in public. I don't think they'd dare.

I do think that some leftist bloggers have ennervated and encouraged their readers to behave in uncivil, even sometimes violent ways. It may be the mainstream, conservative bloggers that I have tended to read over the past few years, but I have not seen the same. Many encourage political involvement or even like this site,
http://protestwarrior.com/ give tips on how to organize to peacefully get one's point of view across. Many proudly say that they are 'blogging for Bush', but not one I have seen, has encouraged even the theft, much less the destruction of signs for Kerry.

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