Turd Blossoming

Letters to the Boston editor
By PHOENIX LETTERS  |  February 2, 2006

You’ve hit the nail on the head and given an accurate analysis of Samuel Alito Jr. (“Republicans, Large and Small,”). One of the best things about your publication is its well-informed, perceptive, and undoubtedly progressive perspective. It’s a welcome relief from the “balanced” journalism of so many other area periodicals. I’ve seen letters from various readers that tend to start off: “I used to be a Democrat, but now...” and the writer will then go on to slam the Phoenix for being so biased and anti-Bush and anti-GOP. The way this democratic socialist sees it, you’re just telling the truth as you perceive it. This administration has gone way out of bounds and needs to be made accountable to the American people. Thank you, and keep up the great work.

Barry Hart
Arlington, MA

As the Globe turns
1) Though it was included online, your print edition did not mention that Mr. Jurkowitz is a former Globe staff writer. Isn’t this a conflict of interest and don’t readers need to know this before they proceed with a news report (“Globe-al Anxiety”)?

2) In Mr. Jurkowitz’s column, the loss of the arts writers and other superfluous departments at the Globe is portrayed as a loss to the culture of Boston and as a travesty. Though it is in a roundabout way addressed, the Globe, like any other business venture — including your own — can only be expected to put out a product that will sell. People stopped buying the Edsel, so it was discontinued. Why should the Globe and Times managers, whom Jurkowitz characterizes as Philistines, be expected to put out a product that people don’t read? They, like any other business ventures, don’t make money on taking moral stances while retaining unprofitable sections of the paper. A newspaper should reflect the reading public. The market has spoken and, in the end, the market is the only force that matters. Tsk-tsk does not pay the bills.

Ben Berzai

Mark Jurkowitz responds: The printed edition of the story did mention — in a boldface writer’s identification at the bottom of the first column — that I spent 10 years at the Globe. On your second point, there isn’t a news organization in business today that isn’t very concerned about what its audience wants. But at the same time, most of the good ones — and that includes the Globe — recognize that journalism involves more than simply feeding the public its twinkies. Journalists are paid not only to tell people what they want to hear, but to tell them what might be important. If journalism were strictly a market-driven business, you wouldn’t need reporters and editors — just people who can take public-opinion polls.

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