Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Letter The Grand Rapids Press Will Not Print

The other night, I decided it was time to send a letter to the local paper. With Michigan's gubernatorial election in November, I thought I would way in with why the Republican candidate, Dick DeVos, would not make a good leader for our state. I ahd sent this letter in under my pseudonym, as I have been effectively banned from having my letters published in the paper under my real name.
This all stems from a letter I had sent to the Press in December 2002. I was responding to an article in which Karl Rove compared to Bush to Abraham Lincoln. I had suggested this was odd, as the rest of the world compares Bush to Hitler.
The press has a policy of only publishging your letters every 90 days. But I had found a way around this by sending letters from my (then) wife's email address under her name. I did this with her consent, as she understood, I was opposed to the upcoming war with Iraq (we were in the propaganda stages at that time, just like we are now with Iran) as part of the neocon plan for endless war, as I have two children who I do not want to grow up and kill and/or die for a pointless war.
As it was, there was another woman in town who had the same name as my wife's. She wrote the paper and asked how could they dare print a letter like that and sign her name to it. That's when my wife spilled the beans to the editor that I had in fact written the letter, and I effectively became banned. Later on, we split up, (for other reasons), and I had a new address and phone number (prerequisites for getting your letter published), so I created an email account for one Lew Scannon, and was able to have two letters published under that pseudonym in the paper.
Now, however I have since moved again, and while I am using a different ISP, my email is similar to my old one, and it's the only account I have, so I sent the following letter to them yesterday. But I think my browser uses my real name in emails, so the letter will not be published. Not because it's bad (although, I will admit, it's not my best, and I've read many worse), but because the editor recognized me as the banned person from almost four years ago.
So here it is:


Michigan's economy is in the toilet. People like Dick DeVos blame Gov. Granholm for our state's current economic woes and say we need leadership to get us out of this.
Let's look at DeVos's leadership. In the last decade, he shipped 1400 jobs out of Michigan, as well as millions of investment dollars into Communist China, while at the time, Michigan was under a Republican governor. If every other manufacturer followed DeVos's lead, there'd be nothing left of our great state.
If DeVos had faith in Michigan, not only would 1400 jobs still be here, but investing the money in Michigan and not China would have created more jobs. 1400 more people could have bought cars, bought homes, or could have afforded newspaper subscriptions. Because those jobs are now gone, 1400 orders for new cars were never made. Because new car orders fell, autoworkers had to be laid off. Many parts manufacturers throughout the state that supply for both the cars and the machines that help build them had to lay people off.
Many other businesses who did follow DeVos's lead also shipped jobs to China.Now, the country is beginning to see the results. Automakers shutting plants. Housing markets starting to slow. Trade deficits are up. The new service jobs created do not pay enough to drive the economy, nor do they create enough goods to close the trade gap.
DeVos likes to blame Jennifer Granholm for a lack of leadership, but part of being a leader includes taking responsibility for your actions. A leader is willing to make sacrifices, unfortunately, under DeVos, once again it will be the working people of Michigan who will be asked to make that sacrifice.


Since the banning, I have discovered blogging, which I feel more rewarding, as I can post what I wish without having it edited or altered(unlike a letter I had published in the Washington Times) and reach people from around the country, not just West Michigan. But I will on occasion get a call from the subscription department of the Grand Rapids Press, asking me if I would like to suscribe. And I say:
"Why would I want to subscribe to a newspaper that attempts to censor me by banning me from the editorial page and whose politics are contrary to mine? Go peddle your papers somewhere else."
If it's just propaganda, shouldn't they be giving it away?

15 comments:

Frederick said...

I've often wondered how run of the mill bloggers like my self might stack up against a small town news paper...

Tina said...

I used to write LTEs regularly to my local Ohio paper, and shockingly, every single letter I sent in was published. But after they endorsed Bush in 2004, Hubby and I ended our subscription with the paper and I began blogging, too. Just for shits and giggles, I do occasionally peruse the LTEs online... my God... so many sheeple... so little time.

elizabethbranford said...

But in defense of a paper, it is important that the writer of a letter be "authenticated". I mean, can you imagine how you would feel if somebody wrote a letter (especially an inflammatory letter) using your name? What if it was a letter critical of something that impacted your job or integrity? What about if a person is a teacher, for example, and somebody wrote letters about how the school is corrupt-that would impact their career right?

So the content of LTE's need to be watched with some concern. To protect everyone.

Obviously a paper needs to take steps to make sure that an author is who they say they are. If you tricked them in the past they have reason to ban you in my opinion because it is very important to make sure the LTE system is not abused for vindictive reasons. I am not saying that is what was done, I am just saying that it is reasonable for a paper to take such steps. I dont know that this can be equated to banning necessarily- it was not content that banned you but fraud. Or so it sounds.
Many papers near me request a telephone number and dont go by email address to prove who you are. They can check you against your number and if they have a question- call and ask you if you wrote it. Sounds pretty stupid to use email when nowadays anyone can get fifty accounts if they want to...what kind of system is that?

Greg said...

Lew, I like your letter and it deserves to be published. However, I can't really blame the newspaper too much as you did circumvent the conventional rules of conduct. I agree with elizabeth that a Newspaper must uphold a standard and should never publish anything that is not attributed to a valid person. Too bad your wife ratted you out! :) Love the blog. Keep it up.

Kvatch said...

Go peddle your papers somewhere else."
If it's just propaganda, shouldn't they be giving it away?


To that point, I often tell magazines (even ones I like), "How about you give it to me for free for 12 months?" I mean their revenue models are based on ads, so why should I get charged?

Lew Scannon said...

Well, Greg and Lily, I did leave a number for verification purposes, and when they spoke to me or my (ex)wife, they received the authentifcation. Similarly, I have in the past have had letters published under a pseudonym as well. But, greg, I do not feel as my (ex)wife ratted me out, she was only doing the right thing and telling the truth.

Peacechick Mary said...

That is a great letter - opinion based upon facts. Too bad Fox News doesn't subscribe to that policy. When I think of it, I have a lot more trust in bloggers who cover themselves with facts than a lot of "unknown sources" people. I was wondering about our rights as pseudo-journalists, esp. confidential sources.

elizabethbranford said...

I'm just saying that there has to be a system, because otherwise there are people out there that would try to use it to hurt others. I'm not saying your feelings or opinions should be censored, just saying that there's reason for them to try to be careful.

Lew Scannon said...

And I'm saying there is a system, and I followed it. But don't censor me and then call me once a week begging for my fucking business.

azgoddess said...

free papers -- haa haa - i like that one

and i loved your letter...

do me a favor - write a book!

Lew Scannon said...

I have started one. Working title:"Writing a book, hippie?" (from John Waters Female Trouble)

karena said...

If it is propaganda, it should be free, like that commercial-free hunk if junk ABC docudrama.

Elizabeth Branford said...

Yeah- why DO we pay for things full of ads? they are making their money from ads. I read most news online to save paper but really- it is nervy to charge subscriptions.

Left of Center said...

As a former resident of michigan. (the state I grw up in) It's so sad to see whats has become of it. Bad business practices by the big three and people like Mr. DeVos are the reasons, not the current Governor.

Renegade Eye said...

There are several other papers in Michigan, that reach people, to use.