Feb 1 2009

Letters to the Editor

Debating Racism and Sexism

I don’t much care what a “second-wave” feminist is, but I do know that Shirley Chisholm stated around the time she ran for president in the ’70s that she had experienced more discrimination as a woman than she had as a black person. That’s pretty strong testimony that Gloria Steinem wasn’t making “questionable use of racism as a foil to sexism,” as Julie Hollar contended in her generally useful piece, “Beyond Clinton & Palin” (Extra!, 1/09).

Both “isms” were rightfully on the table for discourse during the recent campaign, not as a substitute for discussion of substantive issues but certainly as contextual sidebars.

Bob Datz

Brimfield, Mass.

Fraud Against ACORN

Your story on ACORN was good (“CNN, Fox Hype ACORN Threat,” Extra! Update, 12/08), but like most other coverage, it missed the main point: The fraud was not committed by ACORN, it was committed against ACORN. Every time a worker registered a fictional or ineligible or fake celebrity voter, ACORN was defrauded.

There was never any threat to the integrity of the electoral system, because the Dallas Cowboys football team was never going to try to vote in Las Vegas, nor were any of the other fictitious persons, even if they were put on the voting rolls rather than being flagged by ACORN or discovered by election authorities. Nor did the ACORN workers activities deprive a single person of his or her vote.

Whatever happened to the FBI investigation of ACORN? There’s probably a good story there about the political misuse of the FBI that no investigative reporter has yet dug up.

Sheldon L. Baskin

Chicago, Ill.

Obama Apologism

Just a quick note. I am a long-time (15 years plus) media activist. FAIR is an organization that I have quoted for years, including your factual insight on supposedly liberal NPR.

Please stop being Obama apologists. So many progressives are losing their credibility over this issue.

Michael Cavlan

Minneapolis, Minn.

Finding the Real Unemployment Rate

Re: “Inappropriate Indicators” (Extra!, 1/09): In the middle of a Chicago Tribune in either 1980 or 1981, an economist wrote an article saying that household method vastly cut the real unemployment rate. He stated that it failed to include many population groups, such as people on welfare, people who have exhausted their unemployment benefits and people who want jobs but quit looking.

He stated that if you want to find the real unemployment rate you multiply by three. If the rate is 7.2, the real rate is 21.6 percent.

Dwright Mathes

Rockford, Ill.

Extra! Online?

There’s nothing I don’t like about your magazine. I’m a middle-aged, college-educated woman who prefers print/online news reporting to the “pundits” talking to themselves and each other on TV and radio. I especially like the source references in your articles, which give solid backup to your statements. I also read the Christian Science Monitor, the Washington Post, Truthout.org, an assortment of international newspapers and a variety of blogs online.

Have you considered going online to save postage and printing costs? Your readership is probably more than capable of accepting the online subscription format. Why don’t you ask them?

And thanks for holding the “mainstream” media’s feet to the fire. You are keeping the example of absolute, no-excuses accuracy alive and well. It is the basic requirement for all who aspire to the title of journalist, and I wish there were more of you out there.

Frances A. Miller

Chestertown, Md.