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Agree to Disagree

To the Editor:

You can’t see me now, but I’m standing up and cheering!! Just opened up Metroland, and was blown away [Letters, Nov. 27]. Any paper that can generate such a broad range of reactions is doing something right!

First there were the letters about saving historic buildings. For some of us, including Peter Ellis, our visitors are not really interested in old buildings. Some of us—me at least—think there are more important ways to spend money than on presenting “a certain flair to visitors,” although I’ll take an old building over a new one any day, and I have other reasons for wanting to preserve them. For others, like Eric Daillie, having a tourist information center/restaurant at the hub of biking and hiking trails is of great importance. All of our views have legitimacy, but they are informed by different circumstances. It’s important to recognize that, and these letters helped me do so.

Then came the honest opinions of Dave Gallagher, whose experiences of “The Evil Right” have been positive. It’s great to hear. I just hope his job is as secure as he thinks, and his kids can continue to have access to balanced meals. Really. And I agree with him that Metroland’s job is to keep our politicians honest, and I think you are making a good effort in that direction.

My favorite letter was from Myron Getman. There was such passion in it, and he obviously thinks about the same things Metroland writes about. He just reaches different conclusions. From the little I know about newspapers, I believe they originated as political propaganda tracts. I know when I was a kid in Buffalo, there were two local papers: The Courier Express (in the morning) and The Buffalo Evening News. I don’t remember which was which, but one was definitely Republican and the other was Democrat. No one expected them to present both views. I don’t think that’s possible. Name me a paper that presents both (or multiple) points of view. I don’t think you can. I enjoy Metroland because it is the only paper in this region that intelligently covers issues from a point of view not found in the Times Union, or the other local papers. Of course it’s biased. That’s why I read it! As far as I’m concerned the other papers say what their corporate sponsors want them to say, and I am sick and tired of hearing what corporations want me to hear.

And one last thing—why I was cheering in the first place—I really, really loved hearing the diversity of responses. I need to know what Peter Ellis , Eric Daillie, Dave Gallagher, and Myron Getman are thinking (where are the women’s voices?). Otherwise I forget there are independent thinkers with opinions different from mine. What’s important is to ask questions, evaluate the information received by holding it up to your own experience, and then sharing what you have learned. By doing that we can hopefully build a tolerant, intelligent society.

With hope for a peaceful, just, and sustainable future,

Judith Brink
Albany

To the Editor:

Kudos to Metroland’s Stephen Leon’s response to Mr. Gallagher’s and Mr. Getman’s complaints regarding Metroland. It about time that we dispensed with the dangerous notion of “journalistic neutrality,” which is an anachronism given the fact that all major media outlets are owned by large corporate conglomerates. One wonders whether Mr. Gallagher and Mr. Getman have also voiced their concerns regarding media bias to Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News, with its false claims of neutrality, despite its obvious right-wing agenda. At least Metroland admits that it is providing a progressive alternative to the corporate dominated media. The views expressed in the Nov. 14 edition [“Charge of the Right Brigade”] are either ignored in the major media outlets or grossly underrepresented. The corporate media has limited the spectrum of debate by silencing progressive voices but provides the illusion of a free press by promoting a very lively debate within that acceptable spectrum. Thank you, Metroland, for providing an alterative to the corporate media, and thank you for your honesty and candor.

P.S. After watching a Jeep Cherokee commercial last night, wherein the monstrous SUV rampaged from a suburban cul-de-sac into a pristine forest and onto a city beltway, I can only say that I prefer Metroland’s “grotesque” advertisements to the destructive pathologies promoted on commercial television.

Martin Engstrom-Heg
Albany

Metroland welcomes typed, double-spaced letters (computer printouts OK), addressed to the editor. Or you may e-mail them to: metroland@metroland.net. Metroland reserves the right to edit letters for length; 300 words is the preferred maximum. You must include your name, address and day and evening telephone numbers. We will not publish letters that cannot be verified, nor those that are illegible, irresponsible or factually inaccurate.

Send to:
Letters, Metroland, 4 Central Ave.,
4th Floor, Albany, NY 12210
or e-mail us at metroland@metroland.net.


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