The Public Purpose

Notice to
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Readers ---
Letters to the Editor May be Changed to
Reflect Journal Sentinel Views

Most publications attempt to faithfully reproduce the intended meaning of letters to the editor, even when the letters oppose their editorial positions or criticize the publications. The April 11, 1998 letter to the editor of Wendell Cox was changed by the Journal Sentinel in a manner that added content not intended by the author, and diluted the meaning of the particular phrase. These changes produced a letter that was by no means a faithful reproduction of the author's letter. It would have been reasonable for the Journal Sentinel to have appended an editor's note if it felt the letter needed clarification, but to rewrite the letter to say what the publication prefers is irregular.

Attempts to resolve the issue with the Journal Sentinel did not lead to satisfactory results.

Two points may have been behind this revision:

  • The Journal-Sentinel has an editorial position that disagrees with the conclusions of the subject report Light Rail in Milwaukee, written by Wendell Cox.

  • The particular phrase was critical of the Journal Sentinel and the Journal Sentinel's addition to the phrase diluted that criticism

The case is outlined at this address

(c) 2000 --- Wendell Cox Consultancy --- Permission granted to use with attribution.
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