Love/Hate Mail 

Who’s the enemy?

Who’s the enemy?

Your scathing editorial (“A Public Enemy,” April 5) is a little mixed up about who is or is not a public enemy. As long as opponents of legislatively enacted capital punishment are enabled to indefinitely thwart popular will by abuse of the judicial system, there’s a high likelihood that one or two state employees over the 20-plus years of his incarceration might not remember that capital offender Philip Workman spells his name with one “L.” Workman’s fans will soon regret that the frivolous claims of his trial lawyers got a publicized airing. They will have gained a brief reprieve and lost a martyr.

Trip Williams

6946 Harpeth Glen Trace (Nashville)

Defending Cutler

So what is it about WTVF-Channel 5 news director Mike Cutler that Henry Walker doesn’t like? Walker seems to make an issue out of the differences he perceives between Cutler and Mark Shafer, the incoming news director at WSMV-Channel 4 (Desperately Seeking the News, April 5). I don’t think it matters whether Walker thinks Cutler mentions journalism often enough. I spent a year working for Mike Cutler as managing editor at WTVF and would have to say that any argument that Cutler doesn’t worry about the journalism is specious.

There are a lot of elements necessary to present newscasts that audiences will watch, and it’s a news director’s job to make sure all of them are present. Journalism is the most important element, and I have been convinced for some time that Cutler thinks the same thing. His assistant news director, Lyn Plantinga, is a sharp journalist as well, and does deserve the opportunity to lead the newsroom if Cutler leaves. I don’t think she would work there if she didn’t have confidence in Cutler as a journalist.

Walker uses part of his column to extol the work of Jennifer Kraus, who is an excellent journalist and an excellent person besides. I think you only have to look at the quality of work that she and the other people at Channel 5 perform every day to know that Cutler encourages high journalistic standards.

Is it a perfect operation? No, but I haven’t seen a newsroom yet that is. Competition, business forces, and viewer needs create opportunities for leaders in newsrooms. Sometimes good decisions are made, sometimes bad ones are. I did leave the station because of a situation I did not appreciate, but let me say this: I think Mike Cutler has run a solid operation, and I’d work for him or at Channel 5 again.

Doug Johnson, senior writer/copy editor, CNN

DNJOHN202@aol.com (Atlanta)

Double standards

I thank Matt Pulle for taking on the issue of racial double standards in the Metro Police Department (“Black and Blue,” March 29). Serious disparities exist in Metro’s treatment of black and white police officers. I’d like to add some points left out of Pulle’s article:

1. Metro EEOC has never investigated my complaint.

2. To my knowledge, the Metro Police Department has never requested the Department of Justice to investigate an African American police officer. They asked the Department of Justice to investigate me, even though I was not charged by the department with any wrongdoing. Contrast this with Officer Morton, a black officer. The department found him guilty of using excessive force and racial slurs against a Hispanic man and then lying about it. He was not referred to the Department of Justice for investigation. He lost four vacation days and is still on patrol. I’ve lost my badge for almost two years now and have not been charged with anything.

3. Pulle made a mistake in saying that I was a subject of tragic and troubling accusations. What are the accusations against me? No one involved in the two-year investigation has ever accused me of Hispanic abuse. I am innocent, and the department knows this. Even Willy Stern, Scene writer, stated this in a column entitled “Best Scapegoats for the Metro Police Department’s Problems.” Stern wrote, “If the logger-heads who placed these two young officers on leave had bothered to read our article, they would have learned that this paper never accused these men of either abusing Hispanics or of being present when Hispanics were abused.”

Our situation is not the only example of racial bias by the department. For instance, when two white officers shot and killed a black man who tried to run over them during a traffic stop, charges were brought and sent to a grand jury. The officers were cleared. When two black officers were involved in shooting a white man 22 times as he drove away from a set-up drug deal, no charges were brought. No grand jury. Black and white officers are treated differently.

Rex Lisle

JRLisle@aol.com (Nashville)

Corrections

In our “Best of Nashville” issue last week, we incorrectly identified the locations of some winners. Calypso Cafe has three locations: 2424 Elliston Place in the Vanderbilt area; 2279 Gallatin Rd. in the Rivergate area; and 700 Thompson Lane in the 100 Oaks area.

The YMCA of Middle Tennessee, meanwhile, has 23 locations across the Nashville metropolitan area. Please see the ad in this week’s paper for further information.

Finally, in last week’s Critics’ Picks section, an item on Bo Sebastian’s The Protein-Powered Vegetarian suggested that the book had been self-published. This isn’t the case, although the book’s publisher, iUniverse, does offer information on and access to self-publishing options.

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