Stupid is as stupid does
Re: "Is This Man Making You Stupid?" by Hal Crowther and other articles (June 11-17)

Your issue featuring the story "Weapons of Mass Stupidity" was the best I have read. I have been waiting three years while living in Tampa to see the Weekly Planet have a fully hard-hitting, well-written issue throughout.

The content was sharp and critical, and the writing was outstanding. Hal Crowther's courageous, scathing essay included lines that made me howl with laughter (for want of crying) with lines such as Fox TV personalities being "troubled men [who] are neither bad journalists nor even bad actors portraying journalists — they're mentally unbalanced individuals whose partisan belligerence is pressing them to the brink of psychosis." He is on target observing poignantly how stupid so many Americans are to swallow the propaganda fed to them with a straight face even though the farce is so tragically transparent.

In addition, the "Don't panic! Your war questions answered" column just keeps getting better every week. For example, on placing 24 long-range bombers on Guam: "Pentagon officials characterized the move to reporters as a 'non-threatening message' to North Korea not to try any funny business. So, putting a country within range of getting vaporized on a few minutes' notice is now considered a nonthreatening message? We are so totally gangsta now."

Much of your local writing remains excellent. The story about the Seminole casino was a compelling article that follows up on a saga you have continued to focus on. The Sonic article was funny and witty, with a disturbing sarcasm that I appreciate. There are also consistently more letters to the editor lately, suggesting other readers are also being moved.

However, I have a recommendation to make the Weekly Planet into a better weekly paper. Having lived in D.C. and Baltimore for nine years before moving here, I became a serious reader of both cities' weekly City Paper. You should run a regular column on the local political scene by a gifted writer who is genuinely and deeply involved in observing the shenanigans. Keep bringing it on with critical, good writing. I read the Weekly Planet for the first 20 pages, which is the real meat of your community service rather than the ads and entertainment announcements.

—Lee Martin

First, I must say that the Weekly Planet is evolving into a readable paper. Imagine that. I moved to St. Pete back in December and read your publication every week, but I must tell you that something is going on over there and it is good, i.e., readable articles with a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor, besides just good info on food, events and local happenings. Whatever you're doing, keep doing it.

Is this man making you stupid? The mass media are making us all stupid! In the last couple of years, the media, particularly in television news, has morphed into an entity unto itself. It has become nothing but a feeding-frenzy machine, consumed by ratings, which will attach itself to anything that will attract more viewers, sort of like the multi-tentacled search and destroy machines in The Matrix. Fox News and Rupert Murdoch are certainly guilty of fueling the propaganda machine of the right, but in the even bigger picture, we're getting slammed by all sides, including newspapers. What happened to news programs that reported the facts?

Our world is a very turbulent place, filled with anger and hate. The media and the governments of the world actually have a unique opportunity right now to enlighten us all as to the values that are at stake, not only in this country but in the world at large, maybe to even help direct us toward what we can all do to help in resolving this crisis.

—Carolyn Young
St. Petersburg

I applaud your article on Fox News, not because I agree with it, but because I support your right to have an opinion. It's called the First Amendment.

Unfortunately when the liberal media review the conservative media, they have a way of equating a right-wing opinion as the beginning of the end of civilization as we know it.

I happen to lean to the right myself. That would make me an "untypical" Weekly Planet reader, I suppose, but it goes to show that we "righties" can appreciate diversity of opinion as much as ... well, I was going to say left-leaning liberals, but that's not really the case, is it?

Perhaps "unbiased" reporting is a pipe dream. If so, then let Fox battle it out. At least most of America can finally have a news source that they can agree with, instead of feeling "towed along" towards the liberal agenda of free sex, healthcare, welfare and Medicare for all, with NO responsibility to pay for it, except for soaking the rich. Of course, the problem is there aren't enough "rich" to pay for all of these programs, unless you want to count someone making over $40,000 wealthy. But I disagree.

The fact is, diversity of opinion is good, and Fox adds to that diversity. So does your offbeat weekly paper, even if it occasionally strays too far to the left for my tastes.

—J. Harring
St. Petersburg

I realize that you, as the editor of an anti-American, Bush-hating, left-wing-mouthpiece web page, are required to post the most virulent and damaging lies possible against our President. This is not the point I wish to address, however. My criticism of you is as follows: You imply that Rupert is making us STUPID. I think it is YOU who are stupefying us. By publishing the most blatantly false, uncorroborated, unfounded and vituperative allegations possible, you are contributing to stupidity on a wholesale basis. Anybody who swallows your line is instantly STUPID by definition. Because they are believing a LIE. A lie you propagate. Intentionally. Because you are so consumed with hatred and contempt for the current administration and for the United States herself.

But we see through your ploy because we, the people, are NOT so stupid as you think we are. The Truth rings sweetly in our ear. We know where to find it: FOX.

We are also smart enough to see that you are harming your own cause by revealing yourselves as liars and haters, completely lacking credibility and not to be trusted with America's future.

You're the best argument yet for NOT allowing "your guys" to remain in power; to be removed ASAP. And that we will do, come the '04 elections. You can count on that. WE, the people, will speak. Our rising chorus will condemn you and your agenda of hate and lies and cast you all out.

—Forrest Gump
via e-mail

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