Open Letters:

An Open Letter to the New York Times about an Editorial on Zimbabwe

So stunned was I by today's editorial -- "The Stolen Election in Zimbabwe" --- that I assumed I had clicked onto either "The Onion" or "Satire Wire" -- and not "The New York Times," the icon of journalistic integrity, the source of "All the News That's Fit to Print"!

After confirming that I had indeed just read a NYT editorial, I honestly did not know how to react: laughter, tears, apoplexy?

Considering the fact that your publication did not see 'fit to print' an editorial condemning the stolen election in the United States of America in December 2000, my reaction consisted of an admixture of shock, insult, and bewilderment that you were compelled to print one about the recent 'election' in Zimbabwe. And I wondered why you declined to point out that Mr. Mugabe employed many of the same tactics used by the state officials of Florida -- and to the same effect.

Of course, your newspaper also failed to report the gross violations of voting rights and election laws -- both state and federal -- that transpired in Florida in November 2000, but I'm certain we shall hear all about the violations of election laws in Zimbabwe. And your paper also did not call for Justices Scalia and Thomas to recuse themselves in adjudicating the decision in the case of Bush v. Gore because both had members of their immediate families working for the Bush campaign -- a son and a wife, respectively. But I'm sure you will let us know at length the details of political favoritism and nepotism in the election in Zimbabwe.

Nor did you print editorials revealing the outright fraud committed by the state of Florida in eliminating qualified voters from voter registration rolls -- a total of approximately 173,000. However, I await your precise accounting of the disenfranchised in Zimbabwe.

Nor did you expose the collusion between the states of Texas and Florida, governed at the time by a pair of brothers surnamed 'Bush,' in exchanging lists of convicted felons who 'might have' moved from Texas to Florida in order to prevent said felons from voting. Yet, I am comforted to know you will investigate all hints of familial collusion in the polling practices of Zimbabwe.

Nor did you editorialize about the fact that the person who oversaw both the purging of the voter registration rolls and effectively stopped the precinct-by-precinct recounts was Katherine Harris, simultaneously Secretary of State for Florida and co-chair of the Bush presidential campaign. But knowing your dedication to truth, I am comforted in the knowledge that you will surely publish the lurid details of the gross collusion involved in the elections in Zimbabwe.

In closing, I would like to commend you for your commitment to the truth surrounding the election in Zimbabwe; were I a citizen of that nation, I would sleep soundly at night knowing that a free press watches over my hard-won rights.

But I was born, raised, and remain a proud citizen of the United States of America; thus I shall not rest until the foremost voice of freedom and democracy in my land devotes its considerable resources to upholding the laws of my country as it does to those of Zimbabwe.

Tina Staik          
Ms. Staik writes from Virginia.

Open Letter Sent to Sen. Paul Sarbanes

Editor's note: This letter was sent by the Chronicle's editor to Sen. Sarbanes on Feb. 20, 2002. As of April 4, no substantive reply had been received.

Dear Sen. Sarbanes--

The Cayman Islands Monetary Authority notified the press on Feb. 8 that "To date, no formal request has been made by U.S. authorities for information on the Enron matter." See the notice on their website.

If this information is true, how could this be possible? It would seem that, following the revelations of Enron's thousands of entities in the Caymans, federal authorities would have immediately taken steps to prevent funds from being transferred out of those accounts.

Please look into this and see to it that proper steps are being taken in this case. I would appreciate a reply to this--and not just your office's usual impersonal acknowledgement of receipt of a letter. We are pursuing this story and will be publishing responses from politicians.

Thank you for your attention.

Alice Cherbonnier     

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This story was published on April 4, 2002.