To the Editor:
“Is there anyone else out there….?” asks one of your letter writers. Well yes. I don’t think Mr. Kleiman’s accusation of “racist rantings” by the publisher of the Valley News is accurate or effective. I do think Mr. Alexander has a talent for putting his foot in his mouth. Subsequently defending himself against the charge of racism Mr. Alexander writes “…we should not turn a blind eye leaving [many African Americans] to injure and kill each other in these crime ridden communities…” That’s just clumsy and thoughtless phrasing. It is reminiscent of the fashionable idea of the “White Man’s Burden” popular about a century ago. It implies that “we” --whoever that is--don’t kill each other like impoverished African Americans do. Mr. Alexander need only to take a better look at any morning newspaper or evening newscast to realize how wrong that is and how foolish he sounds.
I prefer to address once again the other issue touched on by your correspondent. Call it the burden carried by your readers. Week in, week out, the Publisher of the Valley News hyperventilates his political opinions in apparently blissful ignorance of other points of view and with little fear of contradiction. I know of no other newspaper --reputable or otherwise-- that serves up to a captive audience only its owner’s opinions on national issues. The weekly columns written by anonymous editors about local matters hardly remedy this practice . And it certainly does not constitute a public forum that Mr. Alexander receives--as he tells us,-- oh, so many private letters and phone calls commenting on his ideas.
There was a time when the Valley News was fun to read. We gladly waited and paid for the varieties of opinion expressed in weekly or bi-weekly or monthly columns signed by staff writers like Fred Herbst, Rob Hall and many others. The Valley News in those days was a community newspaper, a marketplace of opinions, an example of a free press on which, --as Thomas Jefferson wrote,-- our liberty depends. Its not that any longer.