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The Spirit of Inquiry

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I find it astonishing that writer Michael Miner would use such slipshod journalism in his column disparaging another publication's journalistic methodology [Hot Type, October 20]. Miner did make one lackluster effort to contact me, but then did not respond to my returned phone call. He made no effort whatsoever to contact the person most qualified to correct several inaccuracies: CEO Christopher Miglino. Willie Gault is neither an owner of Conscious Choice nor Charles Shaw's boss. Gault is a partner in IBS, a company that helped secure capital funding for the purchase of the four magazines from Dragonfly Media. Conscious Choice's parent company is Conscious Enlightenment Publishing, a subsidiary of Conscious Enlightenment, LLC.

Marla Donato was editor of Conscious Choice only, not of Common Ground. Charles Shaw wasn't hired until after the September issue, in which the offending David Ray Griffin interview appeared, was well into production. In fact, had Shaw been on board sooner he could have declined running the piece. In a departure from Dragonfly policy, local editors make decisions in their respective markets as to what national features they will include. But more to the point, why does a critique of Conscious Choice veer into a referendum on Shaw's journalistic history?

Finally, what happened to the spirit of inquiry that has long defined the "alternative" weekly media? Miner so readily discredits the aforementioned interview that I wonder how closely he could have read it. Griffin poses numerous valid questions and makes several admitted conjectures in the absence of credible reports from the 9/11 Commission. If Miner has read Griffin's research and still has no questions about the official report, I would be happy to facilitate a conversation with the professor. Perhaps the Reader would like to cover it in a future issue. To borrow a thought from a subsequent blurb in Miner's column from the same day, perhaps Miner should "consider joining a (journalism) supremacist group. I hear they still exist in (Chicago) and always need new recruits to spew hatred against people they don't like."

Abigail Lewis

National editor

Conscious Enlightenment Media

Michael Miner replies:

IBS was identified as the "parent corporation" of Conscious Enlightenment in Conscious Choice last December in an editor's note introducing the magazine's new owners. Conscious Enlightenment CEO Christopher Miglino says that statement was incorrect: IBS helped arrange the purchase but put up no money of its own. Shaw's relationship with the Griffin interview was accurately described in the column, which quoted Shaw as explaining, "They booked that article before I came on." The suggestion that Donato had anything to do with Common Ground, the Conscious Enlightenment magazine in San Francisco, is the result of an ambiguity, not an inaccuracy, and I apologize. If my column turned into a "referendum" on Shaw, it did so because he happens to be her editor in Chicago now and Conscious Choice is in his hands.

My objections to the Griffin interview originate with the utterly credulous tone of Lewis's questioning. What happened to the spirit of skepticism that has long defined all serious journalism? Given that Griffin was debunking conclusions reached by journalists, government officials, engineers, and blue ribbon panels, I found the interview marred by an astonishing tone of preaching to the choir. Perhaps Lewis and Griffin were. She'll be happy to know I received several indignant letters assailing me for my close-mindedness.

One other thing. In addition to Jim Slama, whom I mentioned, Conscious Choice was founded by Ross Thompson, whom I should have mentioned. Thompson is now technology director of Conscious Enlightenment Publishing.

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