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Letters to the Editor

Monday November 20, 2000


Media makes its own news — Berkeley Daily Planet included 



Your 11/18-19 issue front page simply looks like that of a scandal sheet — three articles, all on the same subject and no other front-page articles. One of those articles is about newsies' behavior patterns. Must the news media increasingly make their own “news?” Perhaps this Berkeley Daily Planet response is a result of being scooped by the other papers on this middle-school problem. Who needs the rehash? 

As for the subject, the school system obviously acted poorly as to communication to the two schools' pupils' parents, and also it would seem that Willard has not acted alertly enough in detecting mini-gangs within its student body. I wouldn't think that task would be all that difficult at the middle-school level. 

As to all the facts in this series of events, whatever they actually are, related to incidents of certain students individually on their own — such activities arebound to occur to some degree. What is despicable about how our society deals with them is its use of inflationary, ambiguous language, both in the media and in its written laws (often only in the interest of getting a politician elected), and our newspapers steadfastly refuse to cite penal code sections, so that readers can at least try to find out the degree of offenses charged — where these mucked-up terms are used in both places. 

Often the worst abuse in a society is the abuse of language. If the Berkeley Daily Planet wants to write about the media, let it publish this letter. 


Raymond A. Chamberlin