So I took my disgust with the ADN's article on suicide to its letters page over the weekend. Ironically, the ADN re-wrote my letter to make it less critical.
The letters editor removed all reference to Alex deMarban who wrote the piece. That might be paper policy (a curious one) but it has an effect on my point. I wrote this:
However, I was disappointed by a sentence early in the piece in which Mr. deMarban says "state and tribal officials" attribute the high rate to several causes, including methamphetamine.The ADN changed it to this:
However, I was disappointed by a sentence early in the piece, in which state and tribal officials attribute the high rate to several causes, including methamphetamine.That might not seem like much but what it does is put the onus on proving the connection between meth and suicide on the "state and tribal officials" and not on the reporter who made the claim, Alex deMarban.
But, you might say, surely deMarban is just a reporter who is reporting what people told him. Yes, that's true but the whole point of my letters is that the meth point was not followed up on, which is deMarban's job.
Also, "state and tribal officials" can't "attribute" the high rate to anything because they don't exist as a single entity. deMarban got that sentence by - presumably - talking to a number of people and then lumping them together into one sentence. That's fine but it makes it even more incumbent on him to back up those claims later in the article.