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Writing on Automatic


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Dear Mr. Miner,

[Re: "The Public Sentiment Machine," Hot Type, February 16]

I admit I have sent an automated letter to the editor out of convenience and mistakenly thought that the more letters a newspaper receives on an issue, the more the newspaper will regard the issue as important to its readers.

Now I know this is untrue. I wish, however, that newspapers would at least count the number of letters they receive that are the same, for it would tell them something about the views of their readers, assuming the letters were from real people and not labeled with fake names and addresses. (I wonder how often that happens.)

As an aside, liberal organizations are also responsible for the deluge of formulaic letters newspapers may receive. The letter I sent was written by such an organization.

Lastly, if newspapers refuse to print automated letters to the editor, then they should also refuse to print the repetitive, formulaic message from Washington as the "news" and instead take the time to conduct hard-hitting investigative reporting that is critical and reflective.

Jennifer Horne

Ukrainian Village

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