Aspen’s wacko Times
Dear Editor:”Aspen’s verdict: Jacko’s wacko” in the Tuesday, June 14, Times isn’t news, but reading it could cause further harm to locals’ mental health.The headline abuses local readers with slur and slang: Could the alliteration of Jacko with wacko be the excuse for the story? It seems the Times changed the title to “Jacko’s nuts” in the Internet version. Is that a pun? The article seems to imply that in special cases, after justice is done, the press should assist Americans to continue to accost the acquitted. Is this OK because the story mixes a celebrity with a suspicion of child abuse?What happened to innocent when judged innocent? Out the window of The Aspen Times. Like citizens, press in the USA have freedom of speech, but the Times’ speech is multiplied into thousands of copies and read by most locals. Legal interpretations of the Constitution give the Times the right to ridicule, mislead and misinform with extra rights to criticize public figures.I expected the Times to downplay stories that dramatize mere suspicions of foul play, particularly after an acquittal. And why not be apologetic for the extra attention and ridicule of the formerly accused? Not in the age of entertainment as news.Instead, all adults in our prudish, unforgiving and supposedly free American society now must fear criticism or retribution for having contact with children outside their family.The “wacko” story claims to describe Aspen, but interviews only visitors. Is the Roaring Fork Valley still the enlightened community it once was? Or is the Times verdict correct?If the Times writer had talked to some Aspen residents, might he have found a more compassionate quote? Perhaps one which acknowledges that we don’t always assume the worst, that we shake off the oppression of hyped fear, that we apologize to Michael Jackson for allowing our media to dangle him out the window of ridicule and suspicion.Instead the article presumes Aspen’s desire to correct the actual verdict with some uninformed and hurtful back-seat jurisprudence: “I think he is a nutcase,” etc.Why does the Times go after Michael Jackson with a vengeance but not George Bush? Is killing for questionable reasons more acceptable than sharing beds with kids? Or is Bush simply untouchable?I prefer the Times to use its valuable space on page 3 for an article on the “Downing Street Minutes.” These indicate that the Bush administration planned to attack Iraq before a suitable explanation was in place.I think the Times’ “news” about “Aspen’s verdict” is defective and damaging at several levels. If the news article seemed straightforward to you, check your BS detector. But don’t expect any apologies from the Times. They are only printing selected visitors’ comments about a well-ridiculed celebrity. Anything wrong with that? It’s the second most downloaded article from the Times website for the day.Read Aspen’s newspaper with extreme caution! Harvie BranscombEl Jebel
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