Letters June 24-30, 2004
A Journalistic Paragon of a Columnist
Brings truth to the people: I enjoyed Bob Norman's recent piece on Susan MacManus ("GOPundit," June 17). I intend to use it as an example of "what not to do" in my advanced reporting class. I always remind my class of the importance of identifying people and their affiliations, but your piece shows why that is not always enough. Journalists also have a responsibility to explain why a particular individual might hold a particular point of view because of his or her political ties and liaisons.
MacManus, whatever her facility with words, is not a detached political observer and should not be portrayed as such. There may be value in her opinions, and she may strive to be impartial, but readers still need to know that she has major ties to the Republican Party and Gov. Bush so they can evaluate her remarks in that context. Thank you for reminding the many journalists who find her handy for a quote of their journalistic responsibility.
Director, School of Journalism
University of Texas, Austin
Uncovers bias at its worst: A thousand thank yous for the piece on Susan MacManus. I have been trying to get reporters to indicate MacManus' work history whenever I can. Only Nancy Cook Lauer of the Tallahassee Democrat now routinely mentions MacManus' many appointments by the governor. One other point to consider: Jeb Bush never appoints anyone who disagrees with his positions, and if an appointee disagrees in public, he or she becomes an ex-employee very fast. MacManus has been appointed at least five times by Jeb that I can count. I think that makes your article much more convincing.
Florida Education Association
By the prez's bro: In regard to Bob Norman's feature story, "Minority Report," June 10: Finally, someone is looking in the right direction when it comes to the minority money trail!
I worked in the Supervisor of Elections Office under Miriam Oliphant and was horrified when the County Commission chose Dorsey Miller and American Medical Depot to do inspections and outreach, each of which was redundant to testing and programs we were already mandated to do.
Keep on it! Somebody is getting rich -- and it ain't you and me.
More on Florida E-Z Bake Problem
Stop the treatment fakes: Thanks to Chuck Strouse for doing the Sarah MacDonald story ("Half Baked," June 10). This story definitely needs to be told a few hundred or so times.
All the way back in 1980, I was coerced into signing myself into a (pseudo)drug treatment program called Straight Inc. for a "two-week evaluation" under threat of a Baker Act commitment. I was 16 years old. Two years later, when I came of age, I finally was able to get away from those sadistic lunatics.
But they continue to operate to this day under various names. They're still using the Baker Act and the Marchman Act to coerce teenagers into their radical brand of treatment for anything from depression to marijuana "addiction."
Please stay on this story if you can. It's about damned time people started looking into it.
Maybe call us a freak weekly: I could not pass up Chuck Strouse's column "Half-Baked" without a comment. One thing he missed is that she is an adult who works in a bar. She should have some personal responsibility for her actions. There are consequences for poor behavior. The article points out she ran out on her ex-husband and all her debts in Arizona. That is all we need more of in Fort Lauderdale: an irresponsible deadbeat who gets drunk and blames all but herself.
Dolan shows his depth at 32 years old by delivering pizzas. I believe Sara Howley acted professionally when she spelled it out for you.
P.S. If your paper were not free, do you honestly think anyone would read it?
Palm Beach County
Stick This, Gipper
The Metal Boys can play: In regard to Jeff Stratton's June 10 story, "Shift Storm," Un-fuckin'-believable, dude. I mean, like, really, Lover rocks majorly. The dudes are like the Rodney Dangerfields of metal, ya know what I'm sayin'?
My only regret is that Lover didn't get to play "Hail to the Chief" for Ronnie -- I think both RR and Metal Wolf have/had equivalent mental grasps of reality.
Paul M. Whalen
Finally, Some Good News
New Times Broward-Palm Beach finished first more than any other paper in the Florida Press Association's recent Better Weekly Newspaper contest. Staff Writer Wyatt Olson led the pack, bringing home top honors in outdoor, business, and religion writing. Columnist Bob Norman was honored for best feature story. And theater critic Ronald Mangravite was chosen tops for criticism. Also placing were Art Director Pam Shavalier, Managing Editor Edmund Newton, and Art Critic Michael Mills. Overall, the paper placed in nine categories.
In the June 17 story "King's Tarnished Crown," Mangonia Park was identified as Magnolia Park. Also, the June 10 theater review, "Itsy-Bitsy Drama," incorrectly referred to City Theatre's current program. The name is Summer Shorts. New Times regrets the errors.
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