Readers listen, but don’t always agree

Ned Cantwell

And the readers write, a columnist’s blatant self-promotion to let his editors know that somewhere out there in the nine towns where his column is published, someone is listening.

n A column bemoaning the hand-cuffed arrest of an Alamogordo veterinarian who wouldn’t divulge the name of an employee who brought in an injured fawn for treatment garnered praise from Clovis News Journal reader Jo Stallings.

Thanks, Jo, but not all thoughts recorded in this space are so well received.

n Ron Nott, who reads the column in The Daily Times of Farmington, took exception to my criticism of the advertiser boycott that knocked a liberal program off the air in Silver City.

To my suggestion that an appropriate slogan for that city might be “Silver City – Shame on You,” Ron countered with “Silver City — Where Democracy Still Prevails.” He noted that as a small businessman, “I have the right to select where I spend my advertising dollars.

“I have been associated with broadcasting since 1960, and one thing I observe is that it is ruled by the democratic process. Every time a person changes the station on a radio or TV set, he or she is voting. This process determines who survives or disappears.”

Point well taken. I would stick to my opinion, though; there is a difference between individual choice and the Silver City situation where a bunch of advertisers muscled up to suppress a local political ideology they found distasteful.
n My view that political discourse is enhanced by the likes of the even-handed Tim Russert rather than shouters such as Bill O’Reilly drew fire from Ruidoso News reader Monte Forney who finds the Fox News star more fair and impartial than mainstream talking heads.

“I do want to thank you and your compatriots,” Monte says, “even though your offerings are ill-founded and self-serving. If you keep this up, you newsmen will replace us lawyers as the most despised group in America.”

Actually, we journalist types sunk below lawyers in the public opinion poll a long time ago. But we are still more popular than telemarketers.

n Just to prove this column is the place to be for New Mexico historical perspective, I offer the insight of Sherm Cockrell, also a Clovis reader. I had written that Gov. Bill Richardson, introducing John Kerry and John Edwards, “exalted in the fact their Albuquerque appearance marked the first time in history a presidential and vice-presidential candidate had together visited the Land of Enchantment.”

Says Sherm, “It seems to me I saw Adlai Stevenson and Estes Kefauver campaigning in Santa Fe in the summer of 1956.”

Ah, 1956. What a year. Elvis was just gearing up, horrifying parents who thought he was the epitome of evil. If only they knew what trash the music world was to offer by the end of the century.

John Wayne starred in a classic, “The Searchers.” A first-class stamp set you back 3 cents. Federal spending had ballooned to $70 billion, somewhat short of what we recently okayed for Iraq. The book, “Peyton Place,” was steamy. Milton Berle was a TV smash. And if you had really “made it,” you tooled around town in your Crown Victoria.
And it was the year a kid who would one day peddle his column to New Mexico editors was graduating from high school in San Bernardino.

Ned Cantwell is a retired newspaperman who lives in Ruidoso. Contact him at:
ncantwell@charter.net