Re: “Biased mainstream media letting readers do their dirty work,” Have Your Say, November 6.
This is the second letter I have read in this column suggesting that The Nation encourages “regular letter-writing ‘proxies’” to express opinions that its editors hold but are afraid to express in their own editorials. Such letters reflect the conspiracy-theory mentality that is so widespread nowadays and is paranoid about the so-called mainstream media.
Speaking for myself, I write letters under several pen-names to express my opinions on a variety of topics. Usually I tailor the pen-name to suit the topic. If I were writing in favour of the health benefits of eating garlic, I might sign myself Garlic Lover. In every case, the opinion is my own. It doesn’t have to be encouraged by anybody. I get enough positive reinforcement just from seeing my letter in print. And I give The Nation high marks for publishing a wide variety of letters, no matter how perverse, nutty or bizarre. They even publish the unending stream of letters from Eric Bahrt, even though he typically ends them by calling his detractors fools and hypocrites. I expect that he will respond to this letter by calling me both a fool AND a hypocrite, which I cheerfully admit I am. You’ve got to have a few fools and hypocrites in this world to make things interesting, and also to give Eric something to do with his time.
To suggest that The Nation is too cowardly to publish certain letters is to insult its editors. Some of the editorials I’ve read here, and some of the Stephff cartoons, are so bold in their criticisms of the junta that I worry that they will shut The Nation down. I suspect that the sole reason they don’t do so is that none of them read English, and certainly not the English-language newspapers. If awards were given for journalistic feistiness, The Nation would have whole roomfuls of them.
Why do I write under pen-names? Well, I’m shy, and I have a boring name. Am I a coward? Probably. So sign me,
Cowardly Pen-name Guy