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Mediagnosis

Posted 2/25/2009

Let's start a rollicking good spate of letters in City Paper--known for its honest assessments--on the state of the "mainstream media" in Baltimore ("The End of the Story," The News Hole,  Feb. 13).

I wished, for example, that WBAL-TV, a week or so ago, had run the whole 13-minute 911 call when the chimp attacked the friend of its owner, and the owner had to stab it and said it looked at her with a kind of "Why did you do that, mommy?" look. This was the highest, most touching drama.

So much of the morning news chat focuses on animal stories and 911 calls (or children abducted in Florida), one just can't get enough.

All this presented by unreal young ladies--so pretty as to dazzle the most jaded. Do less than supermodels have the smarts to present the news?

Then there's radio. WYPR-FM plods along, minus Marc Steiner, with seldom a nod to Baltimore's real problems. WIYY-FM, the zany rock station, records such effects as the sound of jets flying over the field at the Superbowl and does ethnic jokes bordering on the slanderous, but at least it has comedians and does not sink to the annoyingly low level of WBAL-AM. I pick on WBAL because of one reason: I listen to it. WBAL-AM is uniformly right wing--in a left leaning town?!? What's with that? Even token Democrat, C-4 (Clarence Mitchell IV) is on the right! The other anchors--Bruce? Ron? Bob? etc. Neanderthals. I think people turn that stuff off. They act like Baltimore was a small town in Texas. (Of course WYPR is broadcasting to Frederick and Ocean City. But does that mean they have to "dumb down" their shtick?)

This is Maryland, for Chrissake!

As to the newspapers--except City Paper, of course--I had to write heritage columnist, Mike Olesker, as The Examiner went under to ask him why one of his last columns was entitled "Death of a Watchdog," as if The Examiner had ever done anything to watch in town. Consistently coughing up right-wing editorials that flew into the face of this liberal town, to me, the end of The Examiner was "good riddance to bad rubbish." Dan Rodricks, over at The Sun, occasionally can muster up the courage to do good work--then he slides back into pap.

I mean, can they hear the laughter as people watch, listen or read them, these "mainstreamers?" I don't think they're worthy of the name- "main stream." Baltimore deserves better and some of these folk are capable of better.

Dave Eberhardt
Baltimore

Throw the Book at Him

Alfred B. Schultz should be publicly known for what he is--a child-porn sex offender! After being charged with viewing dozens of hard-core web sites of underage children involved in sex acts over the period of a month. Mr. Schultz, replied, "I may have done some of it, but I don't remember" ("Dirty Look?" Mobtown Beat, Jan 8; "Guilty as Charged," Mobtown Beat, Feb. 10). Days later he signs a plea agreement admitting the facts were true! So I guess Mr. Schultz is a liar as well as a pervert. Even when first charged, Mr. Schultz stated "Well my career's over," proving that even then he knew he was guilty.

As a father of a 7-year-old daughter and a federal employee, I find it reprehensible that Schultz should be charged with only five years probation, and remain on "paid administrative leave status" when he should be behind bars and registered as a sex offender.

Magistrate Jillyn K. Schulze and NASA should be very ashamed of themselves. And thanks to our City Paper for covering this travesty of justice.

Curtis Leigh Kidwell
Baltimore

Don't Throw the Book at Her, Though

As a God-centered, over-educated human, I so appreciate the letters of Larnell Custis Butler and the always heartfelt and sometimes rational responses they provoke ("Done With Butler," The Mail, Feb. 18' "Dixon a Victim," The Mail, Jan. 28). I think it is helpful to break the discussion of her unconditional support for Mayor Dixon into two parts.

1) Support for a person who possibly screwed up. Do we European-Americans always throw them under the bus? Nah. We tolerate peccadilloes and serious faults (insert your own example here) if we decide the good he/she is doing outweighs the bad.

2) Importance of group cohesion. Children who are raised to see themselves as vulnerable victims and adults who have, as a group, been oppressed circle the wagons when a group member is attacked (again, insert your own example). Hypersensitivity is a normal defense against oppression.

That said, there are two equally effective ways of destroying Johnny--actively teach Johnny that there is no difference between right and wrong, or totally defend Johnny against those who hold him accountable for harmful behavior.

Examples:

Johnny refused to take a test and teacher gives him an F. Mom comes in, berates teacher, and orders principal to fire her. Who loses? Everyone--especially Johnny.

In accordance with colonial law, a people are disposed so that the colonial power can move another people into their homes, cities, businesses. The prior inhabitants, who have been placed on barren land and deprived of means to thrive or lawfully protest their plight, wrongly use missiles to harass the replacements. The replacing people kill the prior inhabitants en masse, also in violation of international law. Some of us defend the killers, calling the dead "hornets" and saying even the children should be annihilated. Who loses? What is lost? In the Old Testament, read the second chapter of Jeremiah and the book of Lamentations.

A mayor might have violated an ethics law about gifts and is defended by Ms. Butler. Who loses? What is lost?

When infractions are minor, praise publicly and criticize privately.

But if people are being destroyed, criticize publicly. Criticize vehemently. Throw them under the bus.

Let's weigh offenses on the same scale, whatever the race, religion, or sex of the offender.

Connie Lamka
Baltimore

Correction: The Feb. 18 edition of Councilmania, incorrectly reported that a City Council bill on trash and recycling would offer people "a free regulation trash can." The bill neither promises nor funds new trash receptacles, though it would give the city Department of Public Works the authority to require a specific kind of trash can in the future. City Paper regrets the error.

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