Registering Dissent

Robert Knapp’s recent screed in Eugene Weekly (Letters, 11/7) misses the point not only of Reza Behnam’s letter about The Register-Guard, but the purpose of local media itself.

First of all, the condescending abuse Behnam received from the R-G is particularly disturbing since he is a well-known scholar of the Middle East and was a frequent contributor to the R-G in the past. As Knapp deduces, the R-G will not publish letters that are critical of the apartheid regime occupying Palestine.

I know of three other individuals who have had their letters refused by the R-G, not because they were poorly written (God knows most of the ones they publish are!), but because they dared to criticize the Israeli government.

When the daily newspaper of a city like Eugene deteriorates rapidly from being one of the best small city newspapers in the nation to a rag filled with misinformation from major wire services, thinly disguised advertisements for local businesses and an opinion page intentionally devoid of voices calling for peace and justice, civic engagement suffers.

What is needed is a new economic model for local newspapers, with a paper owned and operated by professional journalists who live here and care about this community and the world. Opinion should be provided by local experts such as Behnam, and not syndicated writers from New York and Washington who rarely escape the establishment bubble.

In such a paper, Knapp’s contributions would be welcome if his screeds were more thoughtful.

Charles Dunaway, Eugene

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