Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Recent Letters, part 2

Racel Buchman, a close friend and reporter at WHYY-91 FM, lost her job this week after angrily responding to spam from a radical right-wing website called "". I won't link to them, but google them if you wish. They're your standard right-wing Christian types, gay-bashing, you know the drill. The type of people who made me decide to turn off my comments.
Anyway, Rachel called them on her own time, but mistakenly left her work number as a callback. Here's the article in the Philly Daily News. Here's the Inquirer's (much poorer) version. Here's my letter, sent this AM:

To the Editor:

According to Chris Carmouche, Rachel Buchman, andWHYY, the message left on laptoplobbyist's message machine was a personal message from a private citizen. Ms. Buchman was not acting as a representative ofWHYY. So why should the station apologize?

For that matter, why should Rachel Buchman apologize? is nothing more than a litany ofattacks on gays, democrats, and anyone to the left of Genghis Khan. For Pete's sake, they call Arlen Specter "a liberal". They are little more than loudmouthed, right-wing cranks and should be identified as such.

It seems there is a double standard here: Mr.Carmouche seems to think it is his right to send out hateful spam (the very definition of "repeated emails"), but that no one else has a right to respond in kind.

If WHYY owes an apology to anyone, it is to RachelBuchman: the station should have stood behind their employee, who has done good work for Philadelphia. As for Mr. Carmouche, there's a word for people like you, but it's unprintable in a family newspaper.

I also wrote to Rachel's boss, Elizabeth Perez-Luna:


I am very disappointed with WHYY for not choosing to defend Rachel Buchman. According to every story I have read, including the account offered by, Rachel made the call on her own time after getting spammed at her personal email address. Other than leaving her work number by mistake (an understandable error considering how much time WHYY reporters spend on assignment), she was acting as a private citizen and not as a representative of the station. Laptoplobbyist's call for an apology from WHYY was a silly and unwarranted publicity stunt. The station should have said so.

With journalists under unprecedented assault by the right wing, Rachel deserved backup. The station failed her. While I will continue to support WHYY, I will make a point of targeting my donations to shows like "You BetYour Garden." I cannot in good conscience give my money to a local news desk that can't stand up for its own reporters.


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