ER Prompts Salzman Investigation
I was thinking the best course of action people should take over the Richard Salzman letters to the editor debacle was just to let it drop. Some of the local papers, however, felt otherwise. I really don't have much of a problem with the papers running editorials saying how unethical it is to send in letters under someone else's name but I think the staff of the Eureka Reporter contacting the police over the matter of the Salzman letters, is a bit over the top.
I could see it if someone sends a letter in, signing it under someone else's name, with the intent of embarrassing the person they pretend to be. I remember one such letter printed in the Times Standard a few years ago where someone said she worked at a local medical office and then proceeded to run her office down big time. I questioned that letter when I saw it and don't think I would have published that letter even if it had been written by the supposed signer. In that case it deserved, at the very least, civil, if not criminal, charges if the actual author of the letter could be determined. But Salzman's letters didn't have that intent, as I see it, and he got permission to use one of the phoney author's names, at least for one letter. Not sure about one of the other letters but that lady isn't complaining.
The biggest mistake Salzman made was not sending the letter he wrote to the person whose name he used, have them read it and make any corrections that would make them feel comfortable sending it in, and then send it in themselves. The papers may or may not approve of such shenanigans, but I don't really have a problem with it. In fact, a few years ago I contacted the past editor of the Times Standard to see if they were going to print a letter I'd sent in. I was told I'd already had one published in the last 30 days (one letter per 30 days at the TS). I complained that I felt I needed equal time to comment on something and that, if I waited until my 30 days was up, the letter wouldn't be timely. She suggested I get someone else to send it in for me, which was exactly what I did.
But this Eureka Reporter thing of calling the police and, in effect, filing a complaint is not only overkill, it reeks of vendetta. It's well known, at least in some circles, that the Reporter's owner, Rob Arkely, is no friend of Richard Salzman, both having exchanged some heated letters over time. I suspect we'll hear the Reporter's case for contacting the police in tomorrow's issue of their paper.
This shouldn't be that big a deal but apparently the head honchos of the Eureka Reporter think it is. I say drop it, but it's probably too late for that.