I have always enjoyed the Phoenix’s coverage of the local goings-on with our consistently inept and mostly corrupt elected leaders at City Hall and the State House. I responded whenever I thought I had something to add or subtract, whether it was printed or not. But in the past few months, your paper seems to have taken up a code of silence concerning local politics and politicians, and it cannot be because there’s nothing going on of importance in our city. Oh, well. I’m not gonna tell you how to run your paper, but it seems like a waste of a bunch of good writers and reporters, including David S. Bernstein — all the more so since the city, county, and state are living right on the edge, thanks to our squalid elected leadership.
We can’t handle the truth
We all know the press abdicated their responsibility to search for the truth when the run-up to the Iraq War was laced with lies by the Bush administration. Based upon the mood of the country at the time, one could make the argument that it would have taken real guts to stand up and seek the truth — an attribute not so readily displayed when beating on the wrong side of the drum could mean the end of your career. However, the event that precluded that, the 2000 election recount, will probably be viewed through the prism of history as the time when the press checked out of their responsibility to the people and abdicated their responsibility to ensure fairness in our democracy.
I was shocked to see the story recounted on an HBO special a few months ago. Why did I have to wait eight years to hear the truth? The problem is that most members of the media today are more concerned with being in the news than being responsible journalists. When the fourth estate does not do its job, democracy is in trouble.
Fort Myers, Florida
Blowing our own horn
ASCAP — the performing-rights organization otherwise known as the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers — has named former Phoenix staff writer James Parker a winner of one of its 41st Annual ASCAP Deems Taylor Awards. The awards program “recognizes books, articles, broadcasts, and Web sites on the subject of music selected for their excellence.” The trophies are named in memory of composer and critic Deems Taylor, a former ASCAP president. The pieces Parker was cited for (all from 2007) are “From Her to Eternity: The Real Nico Emerges on The Frozen Borderline” (April 13), “Heaven and Hell: Paul Toodles off to Starbucks While Ozzy Goes to War” (about new albums from Paul McCartney and Ozzy Osbourne, from June 15), and “Endless Rhapsody: How Queen Trumped the Punks” (August 10). Past Phoenix Deems Taylor Awards winners have included Associate Arts Editor Jon Garelick (1993 and 2003) and classical editor Lloyd Schwartz (1987 and 1990). This past year’s Deems Taylor Awards, in addition to Web sites, filmmakers, and TV producers, honored more than two dozen authors and publishers in separate categories of books and of liner notes and journal, magazine, and newspaper articles, from Francis Davis’s piece on singers in the Atlantic to producer Joy Boyd’s memoir, White Bicycles: Making Music in the ’60s. The complete list of this year’s winners will be announced at the annual awards ceremony held at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York on December 9.