By Chuck Strouse
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By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
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By Kyle Swenson
Still, I'll defend her right to be wrong: My first response to Susan Eastman's article "1984 and Counting" (September 27) was anger. But upon reflection I realize she had every right to disagree with all the patriotism and fanaticism that follows it. She is correct in her assessment of the media and its new lovefest with patriotism. It is the worst sort of hypocrisy.
I am one of the lucky ones who was brought to this country not by force but by choice, to grow up free and with options in my life. My Cuban heritage has tainted my view of the events Ms. Eastman so cynically recounted in her article. You see, I still have family living in a country where each day is a struggle; where the government turns ordinary citizens into criminals because they just want the basic things in life; where someone with a differing opinion is arrested, tortured, and sometimes made to disappear. So when I see this country, with all its defects, coming together and showing what it really stands for, I too get the patriotic bug.
I would politely remind Ms. Eastman that it is this country's freedom that allows her to express an opinion, however unpopular. I just wish she would not waste it on a different brand of hate.
Journalists who work in glass newsrooms...I read Susan Eastman's article on the media coverage of the recent terrorist attacks with great curiosity. The tone was familiar. It sounded like most of the conservative publications when they railed against media coverage of the Clinton administration. Where was New Times's indignation about the media braying the Clintonista rhetoric lock, stock, and barrel?
I appreciate your investigative reporting, but your editorial rock-tossing must cost you a fortune to replace that glass house you work in.
Do us a favor and stick to the raking of the muck: There was some good reporting in Susan Eastman's "1984 and Counting," specifically how Channel 7's reporter claimed not to have been able to reach the firefighters involved in the flag issue at the Opa-locka fire station, even though New Times was able to easily find them by dialing 411. Kudos for exposing shoddy reporting by one of our local so-called news teams. That's the kind of reporting I like to read in New Times and know I won't find in the Miami Herald. But the rest of the article bothered me a lot.
In my years as an international photojournalist and writer, I covered riots, war, and way too many disasters. That experience informed my belief that her article was unfair both to journalists and to the public. At 49 years old I may be closer to Dan Rather's age than Ms. Eastman's. I've learned that we communicators are merely and gloriously human, and our job is to present to readers, viewers, and listeners with as much information -- and interpretation -- about events as possible. When we are successful we involve the senses, not just the intellect.
Citizens turn to seasoned journalists to get not only the facts but also the flavor of the event. Sometimes it's communicated through a vivid photo. Sometimes it's through a voice breaking with emotion. Who among my generation and older will ever forget Walter Cronkite's voice as he announced the death of President Kennedy? So to criticize Dan Rather for crying or Diane Sawyer for expressing her feelings is simply unfair. Readers and viewers want and deserve more than a teletype version of the news.
I am a Democrat, a liberal, and no fan of President Bush. But to have denigrated our president by using the nickname Dubya during this time of true national crisis was to trivialize the trauma of our nation.
On the same morning I read Eastman's piece I also read a Herald page-two story by Lenny Savino ("Red Flags All Over the Place") on how the warning signs of impending disaster were ignored by the intelligence community, which relied on past history to form its view of future risk. Now there was a story worth reading. It shed new light. In fact it was the kind of piece I would have expected brilliant investigative reporters at New Times to write.
Sorry, New Times, but instead of brilliance, I felt Ms. Eastman's article was mostly a waste of critical thinking.
Is That a Knee I See Jerking?
As a child of the Sixties, I know one when I see one: In her "Shake" column of September 20 ("The Day the Music Died"), Celeste Fraser Delgado made the case that the recent terrorist acts against the U.S. were a direct result of military aggression in the Mideast by the U.S. and its allies. Let me preface what I'm about to say by telling her that I am neither a liberal nor a conservative. And please don't insult me by taking that to mean I must be a "moderate." I refuse to be a knee-jerk follower of any party line, preferring to make up my own mind on each issue.
Her take on the terrorist acts leads me to believe that she is a liberal, or leans toward socialism in her world view. How did I deduce this? Her own knee-jerk response to this tragedy was to put the blame squarely on U.S. militarism (or imperialism -- blah, blah, blah). I grew up in the Sixties, so I recognize the catch phrases.
Yes, United States policy in the Middle East has been to take the side of Israel and the more moderate Arab states. (By the way I'm not Jewish either, but I wonder when Jews became passé in "the Movement." Being from the Sixties, I can remember when they were the Movement.) I fail to see where we really had a choice regarding Israel. I mean, even a possibly liberal, possibly socialist, possibly feminist journalist such as Ms. Delgado cannot possibly feel we should have looked the other way and allowed the region to be overtaken by Talibans, Islamic federations, Mullahdoms, or whatever you want to call them. In such regimes Ms. Delgado, as a woman, would be nothing more than a subservient, veil-clad baby machine. Her seditious writings would have had her stoned to death in the town square. Her socialist leanings would get her shot. Yet she condemns the U.S. for the side it took in the Middle East! That's what I mean by knee-jerk. The first politically correct leftist response to any situation is to blame U.S. militarism, even if it means defending the likes of the Taliban or Saddam Hussein.
Israel has not been beyond reproach, but look at its adversaries. Their actions make it very difficult to defend them, even if you have some sympathy for them. They have always been their own worst enemies. It's a simple case of supporting civilization over medieval Islamic feudalism. Ms. Delgado's argument -- that the terrorists were somehow justified in their actions -- makes me ashamed to acknowledge that I probably share her views on some things.
Nothing Personal, but You Are Morally RepugnantAnd the Good Book says it's so: I know New Times caters to people with a variety of sexual preferences. I have nothing against that. But as a Christian I was outraged to read Juan Carlos Rodriguez's article about Greater Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church's openly gay minister Tommie Watkins ("Saving Souls, Saving Lives,"September 20). The Bible clearly states that homosexuality is immoral.
I'm not bashing homosexuals; I'm simply stating my personal beliefs. Rev. Marilyn Hardy needs to worry more about Watkins's eternal soul than about a church's decision to stand on the word of God [by dismissing him]. Yes, homosexuals are allowed in the church if they're willing to repent and turn from their ways. Other than that, ministers and reverends need to stop compromising the word of God.
North Miami Beach