Wednesday, November 03, 2004

A long time coming: A letter to the Chairman of the Miami Herald.

Dear Mr. Ibargüen:

Please cancel our subscription to The Miami Herald as of our current expiration date of November 13, 2004. We will not be renewing the subscription we have had continuously since 1973.

Instead of just notifying your circulation department I want to make you aware of the reasons for our decision. Through our thirty-one years of reading The Herald we have noticed the paper moving farther and farther away from the values we hold and from any standards of objectivity in reporting. Your coverage of the current election campaign has finally pushed us to cancel our subscription.

Here is a brief summary of some of our frustrations with your paper:

1. There is a place for opinion pieces in the newspaper - either on the editorial page or in a featured column. I don‚t expect to agree with every opinion, however I do think that a range of opinions should be offered over time. In The Herald there is rarely expressed anything but a liberal point of view.

2. Articles written as "news" should be objective and balanced. Both sides of a story should be presented clearly. Instead we found that, in the most recent case, for example, any "news" article concerning the election or the war in Iraq or Afghanistan was a thinly disguised opinion piece. By your headlines, article placement, and content we have repeatedly seen you distort and misrepresent facts to the advantage of John Kerry and the detriment of George Bush. Additionally you often have not covered very significant subjects which, had they been covered, would have shown Bush, his policies, and his actions in a favorable way. You have also not covered many legitimate questions regarding Kerry‚s history and his record while at the same time taking every opportunity to criticize Bush, often not acknowledging when attacks on Bush were discredited.

3. Even the comics page is not immune to your bias. One of my favorite cartoons, B.C., was removed several years ago because its content was offensive to some. Dilbert was removed to the Business section every day but Sunday. Your comics page through this election cycle has been dominated by diatribes against Bush, many days with five or more comics being blatantly anti-Bush. I understand that there is room for satire concerning the elections. What I will no longer accept is the completely one-sided nature of what you will lampoon. I cannot recall a single instance of humor in the comics at the expense of Kerry during this election.

4. Your treatment of social issues often seems to deliberately glorify what is perverse and dysfunctional in society and holds in disdain the values which have helped our country to be free and prosperous.

5. Even in the Sports section your reporting is often negative and puerile.

In short, rather than being a force for good in our community, The Herald is often negative and destructive. In the past we often suspected your bias. Now we are fortunate to have the internet with which to compare your reporting and your bias has been confirmed. We are not dependent on you for our news and we will no longer support you.

Carol C. Stokes

cc: P. Anthony Ridder, Chairman, CEO, Knight-Ridder
Steven Rossi, President - Newspaper Division, Knight-Ridder
Tom Fiedler, Executive Editor, The Miami Herald
Subscription Service Center, The Miami Herald

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