Letters to the Editor

Ramsey Tough

Very good tag-team coverage in the March 23 issue of the continuing Ramsey screwups. Although I enjoyed Michael Roberts's outing of Ramsey sympathizers in "The Message" and Patricia Calhoun's continued bashing of the Jeffco persecution -- oops, make that prosecution -- in her column, the reader's choice prize goes to "Patsy Ramsey's Book Tour Diary."

Truth really is stranger than fiction. I can't wait for the second chapter!

Sheri Wagner
via the Internet

Thank God someone in the media can write a fair article about the Ramseys. It's frightening to see the mob-like mentality led by the likes of Geraldo, the tabloid press and TV pundits.

The real story is that when the cops can't or aren't competent enough to solve a crime, they leak damaging information to the news media about their targeted suspect and let them lead the media lynching. We've seen it before in the O.J. Simpson trial -- only this time, there have been no charges filed and no indictments. If this kind of trial by media continues, one day there will be no need for judges and juries, just self-appointed hanging judges and a mob with a rope.

JoAnne H. Bay
Astoria, Oregon

Michael Roberts claims that I am "widely thought to be in the Ramseys' pocket." Really. Says who? The comedy team of Green-Boyles? A handful of cyberspace losers? The implication is that I am at most being compensated by the Ramseys for favorable coverage, or at least doing their bidding. Either idea, and anything in between, is as ludicrous as it is insulting. Roberts cites as "evidence" my August '97 story, "Are They Innocent?" and my refusal to appear on the same talk show as Boyles. My article was the result of an assignment by News editors to write a profile of the Ramseys. I chose to focus on their behavior during the major crises in their lives -- the death of John's eldest daughter, Patsy's battle with cancer and JonBenét's murder -- as recalled by their friends and family. It involved interviews with more than forty people, many of whom were reluctant to talk. The result was a story full of new information and insights from sources who actually knew what they were talking about. Any reporter could have contacted these people as I did. Prior to the publication of my story, no one even tried. Apparently, the idea of covering the Ramseys' side of this story -- or even acknowledging that they have a side -- makes some reporters squirm. They prefer to ignore the standard journalistic tenets of fairness and balance rather than risk a bashing from Boyles and his hate brigade. Roberts further says that the Ramseys blew it when they granted me an interview because it "provided ammo to their critics." Oh, please. Boyles and his mob have been screaming for blood for three years. They never lack for "ammo." What they need is a life. Roberts also misinterprets my refusal to appear with Boyles on television as somehow indicative of bias rather than what it really is -- a sign of total disgust.

Lisa Levitt Ryckman
via the Internet

If only Michael Roberts was the problem, I could let it slide, but when editor Patricia Calhoun can't remember that "media," as the plural of medium, takes plural verb forms, your credibility suffers.

"As the national media has been reminding us..." Calhoun, March 23.

"The media in general is finally letting the Ramseys have their way..." Roberts, March 23.

Also, be careful of data -- that one's sneaky.

Keith Johnsen
via the Internet

Copy editor's note: Not only are Westword writers consistent, they read their Webster's. "The great popularity of the word [media] in references to the agencies of mass communication is leading to the formation of a mass noun, construed as a singular," according to the tenth edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. "This use is not as well established as the mass-noun use of data and is likely to incur criticism esp. in writing." But, hey, we're used to that.

The Company You Keep

In regards to the lawsuit filed on behalf of Westword by the ACLU ("See You in Court," March 23), you are probably going to win, but you will have a tough uphill battle. Why? Because law-abiding citizens -- you know, the ones who sit on juries -- have very little sympathy for the criminal element. Coupled with that is the fact that the public in general is not signing on to the "Poor me, the whole world is picking on me" syndrome that the criminal so dearly embraces.

That being said, I would hope Westword will begin to understand that the criminal element is a liability and not an asset.

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