N.Y. Times Deceived by Students' Letters
By Associated Press October 13, 2004, 5:59 AM EDTDURHAM, N.C. -- A group of high school students in a summer program at Duke University managed to get several letters published in The New York Times -- some under false pretenses -- at the urging of a professor, an editor for the newspaper said.The Times generally does not publish letters written for class assignments, but used 17 letters to the editor in a month from students in Mark Duckenfield's international relations course.Thomas Feyer, letter editor for the newspaper, said students, at the instruction of Duckenfield, wrote the letters about subjects ranging from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to American consumption as if they were submitted from their hometowns instead of Durham."They are clearly smart and good writers -- they wrote very nice letters -- but I want people to be up front," Feyer said. "The professor was urging them to deceive us, and it undermines the credibility of the paper if it's discovered as it was in this case."
Dear Mr. Editor sir:
I think that Rather guy on CBS is being persacuted by all those right wing Republicans just because he's a fare and balanced journalist and they don't like him for that. That Fox News Channel isn't fare and balanced no matter how many times they say they are and I think they say it a lot. And their liers. Rather's been around a long time. My father told me if it wasn't for him Nixon would a gotten away with all the bad stuff he did and Rather was only trying to save us from Bush the way he saved us from Nixon. It wasn't Robert Redferd and Dusty Hoffman who got Nixon [I saw that movie] it was Dan Rather and he didn't do anything more to George Bush then he did to Reagan, Ford and Nixon, so he's not unfare, so there.
Michael S. Watkins
To the editor, in the name of Allah, the merciful and the compassionate:
My lord Mohammed, blessings and peace be upon him, has commanded me to write this letter to your distinguished paper in the hope that all of the infidels who read these inspired words will elect John Kerry and John Edwards, who are annointed by my Lord Mohammed, blessings and peace be upon him, even though they are not true believers, but because they understand the suffering of the true believers more than the Spawn of Satan Bush, who is forcing the servants of my Lord Mohammed, blessings and peace be upon him, to wreak havoc upon your decadent society. Come November 2, elect Kerry/Edwards, and Allah, the merciful and compassionate, shall smile upon you.
Yours in Islam,
To the editor:
Like this war in Iraq, what's up with that shit? We be bombin' and shit and those Moslems they all fucked up. Like I hear they eat goat balls and shit. Like what do they do? Boil em? They fry 'em? They better shake n' bake that shit real good before I eat it. And why we over there anyway? They didn't have nothin' to do with September 11. They didn't have no weapons like that Tom Colin Powell said. And that other Oreo, Condoleeeza Rice (she white rice, she ain't no brown rice), she lied, too. And that Bush, he's dumb. Sittin' there reading that story to those little kids after finding out we was attacked. What's up with that shit? And you know what the story was about, don't you? A goat. That's what you call symbolical. And we got all kinds a problems over here and he be fuckin around over there in the middle east just to help the Jews. That's why Kerry the man.
Georgetown University, Washington DC
To the editor
I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy reading your editorials. Your insights into the evil machinations of the Bush Administration and its disastrous overseas adventures serve as a shining light to all of us who weep nightly over the fascist state our once proud country has become under this fascist dictator who stole the election of 2000 under the most fascistic circumstances imaginable. Not since fascists like Hitler and Mousolini turned their respective nations into fascist states have we encountered a fascist like George W. Bush. He is such a fascist that I'm not even sure the term "fascist" really conveys the essence of his fascism. But until they come up with a better word, "fascism" (sadly) must suffice at least for the few months left in this fascist's term. I'm assuming, of course, John Kerry will win the election and roll back the fascist policies of the fascist Bush.
Los Angels, CA
To the editor:
I am writing to express not just my own displeasure, but that of my entire family as well as our friends and neighbors here in the state of North Carolina with the Times' post-vice presidential debate story in which your reporter called the confrontation between the younger, more upbeat and charming John Edwards and the dour, mean and nasty Dick Cheney a draw.
A draw?! What debate was your reporter watching?
Cheney was obviously on the mat (metaphorically speaking) from the first mention of Haliburton and never recovered. Throughout the entire debate, Senator Edwards maintained the poise, charm and wit that served him so well in front of juries when he was a successful trial lawyer defending the weak against powerful corporate interests. Every mean spirited attempt on the part of Mr. Cheney (yes, Mister - I refuse to refer to him as Vice President since he did not attain that office legally) to question the impeccable credentials and reputation of the obviously more virile Senator Edwards was deflected with the younger stud's debonair smile. You could just hear those little coeds in the audience (and of course the gay male students as Senator Edwards' charm is all inclusive) swoon each time he flashed that boyish grin. If that debate was a draw, what would you call the Second World War?
To the editor (if not the editor, then to whomever is available):
First let me assure you that I always read the New York Times and consider it the nation's best newspaper. Except when I'm in my hometown of Boston. Then I always read the Boston Globe and consider that the nation's best newspaper. Of course, when I'm in Los Angeles, I am never without the best newspaper in the country, The Los Angeles Times. But this is not why I'm writing a letter to the editor of The New York Times. Well, it is part of the reason why I'm writing this letter. It has to be, because I just wrote it. But it's not the entire reason for writing.
No, I am writing this letter because I am concerned about the upcoming election, which I believe with my whole heart and soul is the most important election, not only in our lifetime, but in the history of this great nation.
Not counting, of course, the election of 1992, the last time before this that the American economy was the worst since the Great Depression (and it's no coincidence that a Bush was president back then, too).
Oh, and the election of 1980, when the choice was between one of our greatest and peace loving presidents (not counting Bill Clinton and of course John Kerry when he's elected), Jimmy Carter, and that fool Ronald Reagan.
Wait, then there was the election of 1972, between George McGovern and the corrupt Richard Nixon. McGovern was going to end the Viet Nam war, the cutting off of ears, chopping off of heads, the blowing up of bodies, the taping of wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turning up the power, having discovered that taping them to animal genitals and turning up the power would yield no information since animals can't talk. Well, I don't want to offend animal rights' activists, so let me say that animals do in fact possess a language, but we humans are too specie-centric to learn or understand it.
Where was I?
Oh, yes ... McGovern was going to end the war in Viet Nam, but the corrupt Richard Nixon fully intended to prolong the war, to take it into Cambodia, where John Kerry predicted Nixon would take it even before Nixon was elected.
Anyway, that was a really, really important election, too. But not as important as this one coming up between John Kerry and George Bush. I believe Senator Kerry, who handily won the first debate, would say, if I may speak in his place, that George Bush has involved this country in the wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time, just like Viet Nam. And that's Senator Kerry's final position on Iraq, if I again may be so bold as to speak for him. No, I do not know the Senator, though like him I, too, served on Swift Boats in Viet Nam, well after the Senator was sent home because of the grievous wounds he sustained in battle, but his heroic exploits were legendary and I heard about them the whole time I was there, which, like the Senator, was only for three and a half months, but this was very common, contrary to what you may have heard from the now totally discredited (thanks to your fine paper) Swift Boat Veterans For Truth.
If you could inform your readers through this, the greatest newspaper in the country, not counting the others I mentioned, of course, of the Senator's final, ultimate, this-is-my-seat-and-I'm-not-moving-to-the-back-of-the-bus position on the disaster of Iraq, I'm sure he would greatly appreciate it.
Miles T. Mayflower