Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Here We Go Again...

My old friends at MediaWatch are back, posting an item on one of their blogs about Dr. Hal Atkinson's letters to the editor contest I blogged about last week.

Since Rich Reynolds and Co. appear to have an affinity for erasing posts that I comment on, I'm including the entire text here as well as a screenshot of the photo they used.

I point out the photo for this reason: it's not theirs. In fact, by having it appear on their website, they're probably violating Oregon Lithoprint's copyright of that image, which MediaWatch obtained from the Oregon Lithoprint's website after doing a Google image search for "newspapers."

One can make an argument that using an image to accompany a story without holding its copyright is acceptable under the "fair use" doctrine -- indeed, I posted some Fort Wayne Newspapers images in the early days of this blog, but I was making comments on those images, not passing them off as my own, and I made sure to credit the photographer and source and link back to the original photograph.

Rich Reynolds did nothing of the sort -- in fact, he copied the image and republished it to his own website without any kind of attribution -- which opens him up to all kinds of legal ramifications. Considering the fact that he's such a litigious fellow, I would think that he knows better!

Now then; on to the actual content of the post. (In other words, the part that's ostensibly original.)
Both Fort Wayne dailies, The NEWS-SENTINEL and The JOURNAL GAZETTE have banned letters to the editors about a dentist’s desire to replicate the Empire State Building for his office façade.
Well, ten bonus points for finding the ç key on the keyboard...
The dentist, in a “coup d’hype,” sought to reward letter writers who got their missives in the paper – pro or con – with money, a few hundred bucks, give or take.
Coup d'hype! It's witty AND mellifulous! (Actually it's neither.)

And Atkinson is not rewarding letter writers with "a few hundred bucks, give or take," since, according to this article (goodness, an actual cited source -- take note, MediaWatch), the maximum amount a person could win was $100, and only if their letter was in support of the building other words, not "pro or con." (MediaWatch Correction Department: "Oops.")
For us, Letters to the Editors are a sop to the rabble, but in this instance the sop is so patently tainted by the dentist’s ploy (to get the public behind his effort courting approval of the façade) that both papers are right to eschew the intrusion(s).
Again we get it -- you know how to type a ç!
Letters are popular with readers, for a number of reasons, one of which is that they often counter the views of the editorial departments in order to show newspaper owners that they don’t have a monopoly on public ideology.
Yes, I'm sure that's what newspaper owners learn from their Letters to the Editor.
But most letters are fraught with illogic and emotional bias, quite meaningless in an objective sense, but newspapers continue to exploit readers who wish to offer such views. This makes newspapers seem democratic.
Illogic and emotional bias? Quite meaningless in an objective sense? Why, that sounds like your run-of-the-mill MediaWatch fax! And publishing the thoughts of readers who send in letters in the hope that they will be published is pretty much the definition of exploitive...
Anyway, we applaud the ban on the Empire State Building foray. It’s a contrivance that reflects nothing of value to anyone, except for that dentist, whose obsession with the New York skyline seems a bit cockeyed to us.
Speaking of obsessions, what about obsessing over UFOs and aliens, specifically "The Homosexual Element(s) in Alien Abductions"? Seems a bit cockeyed to me...

Better luck next time, boys. I'd suggest sticking to intimidating the News-Sentinel and Knight-Ridder...

ALSO: It appears that Rich Reynolds has closed down, the website where he most recently said this:
Access to all MediaWatch sites is password protected as we prepare litigation against a media blog in town.

If you want access, drop a line to or call us at 260-637-9810, and we'll try to comply with your request.

Rich Reynolds
Director Fort Wayne MediaWatch

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