Jul 1 2007

Letters to the Editor

A Little Learning

I am struck by the fact that George Will referred derisively to those who believe in global warming (which includes, of course, the vast majority of scientists) as “climate Cassandras” in a February 12 Newsweek column (Extra!, 5-6/07). Can it be that Will doesn’t know that in Greek mythology, Cassandra was endowed with the gift of accurate prophecy—but cursed by the gods never to be believed?

Joanne Gruber

New York, N.Y.

Something to ANSWER For

Did a bit of the New York Times rub off on its former reporter Frances Cerra Whittelsey? I don’t know, but it might explain how, in the midst of her excellent article about the mis- and under-reporting of antiwar demonstrations by the media, she committed some of her own with this sentence: “Members of these groups repeatedly responded to calls for mobilization by United for Peace & Justice, MoveOn.org and others.”

While MoveOn.org is certainly politically active, it has never organized a single major demonstration, and has rarely even endorsed the ones which have occurred. By contrast, the most prominent “other,” the ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Coalition, has been the organizer or co-organizer of every single major national demonstration (and many local ones) against the war, save only the January 27 demonstration (which it endorsed and mobilized for, but was refused co-sponsorship due to the hostility of UFPJ). The March 17 March on the Pentagon was only the latest in a long line of such demonstrations.

Writing an article on the antiwar movement without mentioning ANSWER is on a par with anything we might expect from the corporate media. It’s a mistake FAIR, even in publishing an article from an outside writer, should not have made.

Eli Stephens

Left I on the News

Cupertino, Calif.

One Medium, Two Media

In many different communications media, the word “media” is commonly used (incorrectly) as a singular noun. Such misuse can be heard on TV and on the radio, in newspapers, and even in scientific journals where authors describe the use of “a growth media” for their experiments. The word “media” is actually the plural of “medium.” You can have one medium, or two or more media.

One would hope to find that Extra!, a publication whose focus is on the media (and on accuracy), would be one place where the word “media” would be used correctly. Alas, that is not so, as many articles in Extra! use it incorrectly.

I was particularly amused to observe that Laura Flanders (May/June 2007), with the objective of convincing readers that it is important to participate in public discourse, reminded them that ‘media’ is a plural noun.” In the very same article she also proclaimed that “the yard sign is the most effective media [sic] for miles.”

Aside from these grammatical difficulties, I generally enjoy reading Extra! and find it a useful source of information. Keep up the good work.

Russell Johnson

Bozeman, Mont.