Letters to the Editor

Mob Mentality

Re: "The Mob" by Scott Deitche (April 26-May 2)

A 1996 national survey sponsored by the Commission for Social Justice conducted by Princeton-based Response Analysis Corporation found that 74 percent of all Americans believe that most Italian-Americans are in some way associated with organized crime. Yet a recent FBI study found that less than one-tenth of one percent of the 25-million-plus Italian-Americans in the United States were associated with organized crime, or any other sort of criminal activities. If this is the case, then why do 74 percent of Americans believe that Italian-Americans are criminals? I would wager it is due to stories like "The Mob."

While I do not dispute the facts of the article, I do not agree with the ethnic profiling that is suggested by articles of this nature. There are relatives of many of those names listed in this story that live, work and contribute much to this community. I would bet that most have no connection to organized crime, but may still become victim to some prejudice because of what your article implies.

Marky "The Fish" Pisces



In "Most Censored Local Stories," the Weekly Planet reported in an item by Andrea Brunais that "scant attention" had been paid to dredging at Port Manatee by the regions' daily newspapers. The St. Petersburg Times' environmental writer, Craig Pittman, has done a number of excellent articles on the issue since 1998.

Also, Editor John Sugg reported that the Planet's free circulation is "monitored" by the research journal Media Audits. What Media Audits gauges is readership, the total number of people who see the Planet on a weekly or monthly basis, not the base number of papers distributed. In the past, the Planet's circulation has not been audited, but recently the newspaper has hired Verified Audit to attest to our circulation reports. The Planet's circulation numbers mentioned in "Most Censored" came from internal reports. The circulation, based on unaudited calculations for April 12, was 80,262, a 19.8 percent increase over a year ago.

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