Friday, September 02, 2005

Salzman Exposed???

This is sooo funny. Local leftie gadfly, Richard Salzman, is exposed as the writer of some letters to the editor he sent to local papers using names other than his own. Kudos to the North Coast Journal for the report that brought this to public light. Good to see someone who accuses everyone else of unscrupulous dealings being exposed doing some not so above the board stuff himself.

That said, I don't really think he did all that much wrong except for signing someone else's name to a document. He's written letters under his own name before, so it's not like he's afraid to stand by his opinion. I feel a lot less toward the other writer mentioned in the Eureka Reporter story that wrote letters and always used someone else's name because he "didn't want people to know I wrote it...". Now that's cowardly.

So why did Salzman do it? I can only think of two reasons: He wanted to submit more letters in the time period the particular paper allowed, or, he wanted to give the impression that his viewpoint was more widespread than it appeared with a letter from just him alone. Only he knows for sure. Those two reasons probably don't justify such actions, but I can understand them. I've thought of similar strategies myself, except mine involved collaborating with other people. For instance, I thought of writing a letter to the editor myself and then having some local LPers write in and say how much they agreed with my letter. I suppose that's a little more honest but maybe still in the wrong spirit. The main reason I never got those projects off the ground is I couldn't find anyone to write the support letters. A lot of people are afraid to have their opinions linked to their names or even have their opinion exposed to the public at all.

I wrote a letter to the Times Standard a few years ago. Got a number of compliments on it. One of my past customers wrote me an e-mail complementing me on the letter and concluded by asking "...but why did you sign your own name to it?". How pathetic, I thought. My answer to him: "Because I wrote it.".


At 2:33 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

I'm with you in offering kudos (whatever the hell that means) to the NCJ for exposing Salzman. Being essentially a 'leftie' who supports Gallegos, I appreciated Salzman's accomplishments, though not particularly his style. But the 'righties' fight dirty too, and like Jerry Brown said when he ran for President "when you work in the fish factory, you can't help but notice the stink." (a poor paraphrase at best) But Salzman blew it big time, if for no other reason, he got caught. I sure hope Gallegos and all others distance themselves from him, because their enemies or going to have a field day; the NCJ piece is well written and you can see the stench waves rising off Salzman's fish carcass. The 'righties' will be shooting fish in a barrel in any campaign Salzman is associated with.

As for hiding behind a psuedonym, as you know, I used to do that with my blog, but inspired by your boldness, I overcame my own paranoia (no small feat) and now use my real identity. Anonymity has it advantages. If people know something about you, they think they have right to engage you in conversation, and not all people are fun to talk to.

At 8:05 AM, Blogger Fred said...

Not sure exactly where "kudos" came from except I saw it used as a congratulatory word in a number of things I'd read so I started using it.

And KUDOS go to you, Jeff, for coming out from behind your pseudonym! I don't really have a problem with people using pen names, especially if they're writing fiction or comedy or some such. I do want to know who the author is, though, and think the reading experience suffers when the author writes anonymously, at least for me.

But I'm just about of the mind that if someone wants to publicly express an opinion, they should put their own name behind it or they're not entitled to air their opinion. I suppose there might be circumstances where anonymity might be prudent. Some point to some of the founding fathers who often wrote under pseudonyms. But many of their writings were considered seditious and they had reason to want to protect themselves from arrest.

Nowadays that isn't an issue in this country, at least not yet. It might be very soon. A lot of people are just timid or, as a brother in law told me once, "...don't want to get a bunch of shit from people...". Well, as far as I'm concerned, if you don't want a get a bunch of shit from people, keep your opinions to yourself. If you have an opinion and want it known, get the courage to say or write it and stand by it under your name.

But that's just me. I was gonna post this anonymously but I think I'll just sign this...


At 12:29 AM, Anonymous Ken said...

The whole Salzman thing seemed light compared to the death threats and wierd sexual innuendo made by Shawn Warford's puppet Jan Johnson. Couple that with the Green Party boycott of the Advocate and it looks like he's toast.

At 9:12 AM, Blogger Fred said...

Yeah, I would think so. I suppose the reason that wasn't made into too big an issue (at least yet) was because, one, he isn't as high a profile a guy as Salzman and, two, since the cops were involved and said they couldn't prove it for sure nobody wanted to make a bigger issue out of it.

I'd hate to see the Advocate newspaper go down the tubes. It's kind of a fun paper although I don't often get a chance to pick one up. They have a rack of them outside the Vellutini Baking Company that I pass by regularly but I usually have my trailer behind my truck so parkings a bit difficult.

Of course, if someone's being an "e-mail terrorizor", maybe I shouldn't be reading their paper? I think my blog post today will be on my recently acquired e-mail terrorizor.


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