New ownership rules are good for The Sun but bad for the...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 02, 2002

New ownership rules are good for The Sun but bad for the public

The editorial "Remaking the rules on media ownership" (Feb. 21) is one of the most self-serving pieces ever published in The Sun. Media concentration may be good for The Sun, its parent (the Tribune Co.) and the rest of corporate America, but it is bad for those of us who read newspapers and view television.

Let's start with the assertion that access to information has gotten cheaper. In fact, newspapers and cable companies are charging more for their products than they were 15 years ago. Granted, the Internet, which did not exist 15 years ago, offers free access to information. But every large media company has strategic planning efforts underway to transform these free news sites into subscription sites. The reason these sites exist is to make money, and few have been able to turn a profit on advertising alone. If we end up with a dozen large media corporations, which seems to be the way we are headed, the days of free access to news sites are numbered.

The Sun's assertion that "substantive, in-depth news and analysis" is available on the Internet is partially true. However, the amount of informative news and commentary available on the Web is pitifully small relative to all the other offerings, and it is diminishing. And sites such as Salon.com are in precarious financial shape.

It should also be noted that large corporations -- AT&T, Viacom, AOL Time Warner -- seem more interested in developing ways to capture part of the lucrative revenue stream from Internet and cable television pornography than in developing sites and channels offering substantive news and analysis. These changes in ownership rules will only accelerate the consolidation of America's newspapers, magazines, publishers, television and Internet companies. Don't insult our intelligence; this is good for The Sun and bad for us.

Brian Sullam

Baltimore

The writer is a former editorial writer and reporter for The Sun.

Putting recycling on street makes no sense in Northwood

Caitlin Francke's mention of Councilman Nicholas C. D'Adamo Jr.'s charge of unfairness (She wrote that "[City Council members] said it smacks of unfairness to let the well-to-do hide their trash in back alleys while everyone else has to place items in front of their houses, making streets look messy") was misguided ("Recycling policy exceptions protested," Feb. 22).

Of course the streets look messy. But the question is not whether some communities are well-off and politically powerful, and therefore more persuasive with city officials, but whether the new policy of front-street collections makes sense for any city community. The answer may be yes for some, but certainly not for all.

We in Original Northwood complained to city officials loudly and often once this flawed policy was announced. It was not our social status or political clout but our perseverance and the validity of our argument that won over Department of Public Works policymakers.

Those who suggest otherwise are not seeing the situation as it is, and are probably misdirecting their own protestations.

James B. Pettit Jr.

Baltimore

Stop the incessant whining, and take recyclables out front

Hardly a day passes without the lamentations of recyclers because they have to put their recyclables out front. But for the past 40 years, someone in our house has lugged our trash cans down to the front curb. And my neighbors who recycle put their recyclables out front, as they have ever since recycling started.

Recyclers should stop crying out in grief, make sure their recyclables are clean and properly packaged, and put them out front.

R. A. Bacigalupa

Baltimore

Truth won't be a casualty in Judge O'Malley's court

I was pleased to read that Judge Catherine Curran O'Malley has decided to preside over criminal cases ("O'Malley hearing criminal cases, despite opinion from ethics panel," Feb. 20).

I handled many cases against her when she was a prosecutor, and she was always fair-minded. She displayed good judgment when she was a lawyer who presented police testimony, and will do no less when required to impartially evaluate the same.

Truth will not be a casualty in Judge O'Malley's court, and I have no doubt that, if confronted with a genuine conflict of interest, she will recuse herself.

Gary S. Bernstein

Towson

Giving `the gift of life' is each person's duty

Thank you for the informative and prominently placed article "Grateful for the gift of life" (Feb. 21).

We are fortunate to have the best hospitals and trauma centers in our community, but this means the demand for blood is high. It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to be sure blood will be available for those who need it.

If The Sun's article inspires one person to become a blood donor, it has done a great service.

Doris Trainor

Baltimore

The `morning-after pill' can destroy a human life ...

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