Saturday, April 11

Newspapers digging their own graves -and ours.

My letter to the editors of the Boulder Daily Camera and Colorado Daily:


As newspapers wring their hands over their declining readership, they should remember the old dictum: "The job of the newspaper is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." In so many ways, from the expected rejection of this letter, to editorials to news "slant," we now usually get the opposite, political dictum: "Kiss up and (defecate) down."

My experience: In 1992 I was voted "Best Activist" by readers of the Boulder Daily Camera, for several reasons which annoyed the rulers of "our" town. So, in 1995, after I'd criticized the Mayor at a City Council meeting, the editor of the Camera falsely wrote "Ravitz virtually suggested the Mayor deserved the cancer she was fighting." The official City video of the 6/6/95 meeting, available at the Carnegie Library, proves this false. Or read the actual transcript. The editor repeated his falsehood a week later.

A month later the editor of the Colorado Daily fired me from the columnist post I'd held for 5 years, for another easily-disproven falsehood: that I'd disrupted a meeting on the future of the University of Colorado. Prof. Estevan Flores, who ran the meeting, wrote in a published letter that I'd instead made a "valuable contribution" to the meeting. Prof. Martin Walter wrote that if anyone had disrupted the meeting it was he, when he rose to passionately second my suggestion that CU "democratize." Chancellor Rod Park was also a witness.

When media thus make inconvenient truth-tellers into non-persons they leave only yes-men and women in the pool of leaders. You can see the results. Happy devolution!

Evan Ravitz

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