Saturday, August 7, 2010

Herald Goes Green, Recycles Letters to the Editor

posted by richard gill

Refer to "Letters to the Editor" in the two most recent issues of the Hyde Park Herald (July 28, p. 4 and August 4, p. 4). Each contains (in first position or as the sole entry) virtually the same letter from Graham Romeyn Taylor Jr. and Jean Taylor Kroeber. The two letters take the same position on the same subject, (Chicago Theological Seminary building) with largely the same arguments and a lot of identical phrases. Neither letter is actually written to the Herald’s Editor; each is directed to a different third party and copied to the Herald.

Now, the Taylors have the right to try hammering their position home twice in a row in the same forum. And the Herald, well it’s their silly paper, and they can print what they want, as many times as they want. But printing both letters—in consecutive issues yet—is a bit much, even for the Herald.

An example, from the letter to CTS President Rev. Alice Hunt printed in the Hyde Park Herald:

As the grandchildren of Graham Taylor, we have been disturbed to learn through friends in Hyde Park and articles in the Hyde Park Herald that as a consequence of the sale of the Chicago Theological Seminary campus to the University of Chicago, Graham Taylor Hall may be completely altered and its legacy obliterated. While we understand that the University of Chicago is now in the position of making decisions about the Seminary buildings, we feel that there are strong reasons for you to exert pressure to have Graham Taylor Hall given landmark status and to preserve it intact for both its historical and architectural significance.

In case you didn't get it the first time, compare the above with the letter to University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer printed in the Hyde Park Herald of August 4:

As grandchildren of Graham Taylor, we have been made aware through residents of Hyde Park and articles in the Hyde Park Herald of the University of Chicago’s purchase of the Chicago Theological Seminary campus and the proposed creation there of an expanded Milton Firedman [sic] Economic research Center...While we understand the university’s need for space and the desirability of moving with the times, it is extremely disturbing to us that the legacy of someone who was so closely associated with the founding ideals of the University of Chicago, as well as being instrumental in bringing the theological seminary national standing, should be in danger of being obliterated. We would have hoped that for both historical and architectural reasons the university would have considered this building for landmark status.
Printing one of the letters makes the point. Printing both, so prominently, is a bit of a joke. It implies that readers aren’t smart enough to read an argument once and comprehend it. It also says that nobody will recognize that the Herald is promoting its own views by seizing on someone else’s material. Were there no other letters that might have been printed, on this or other subjects? If indeed nobody thought it was worth the effort to write a letter, that’s indicative of the joke that the Herald has become.

Speaking of jokes, I did get a chuckle out of the spelling “Milton Firedman” in the August 4 letter.

Any more softballs? We’re in the batter’s box, ready to swing.


mchinand said...

They also saved ink by leaving off an 'n' in Millennium in a headline on page two. Oh, and got the name of Michael's Fresh Market wrong; calling it Michael's Fresh Produce in the photo caption on page two. I'm surprised they haven't dedicated an actual article to the opening of a new grocery store in HP/Kenwood after making so much out of the closing of the Co-op.

Richard Gill said...

mchinand, don't look for the Herald to get very gleeful, nor even interested in the opening of Michael's. The Herald is still sulking and pouting about the demise of the Co-op, over which they made such asses of themselves.