Editor, The Commercial:
I am writing to say that on one hand, I appreciated the coverage in The Commercial of the planned protest at Alderman Lloyd Holcomb’s church (which he pastors) against his vote to uphold the mayor’s decision to fire City Collector Albert Ridgell. It was a paltry protest as turnout was slim for the Sunday demonstration. The editorial which followed, entitled “The Protest That Wasn’t,” put into clear perspective the significance of this, so I was encouraged.
Still, I have a minor objection to Michael Lee’s story. I question the propriety, or at least the relevance, of his pointing out that Jack Foster, the protester or activist, is a convicted felon. Although the crime that he served his time for in the federal penitentiary that was reported is certainly ironic — the editor saying “…one of the few participants was, of course, Jack Foster, who was over an hour late…,” — was a dig but that’s an editor’s prerogative.
Does the paper feel a responsibility to the public to inform them of a dissenter’s ignominious past, lest they be unwary and become beguiled, or to keep an ex-con sullied, disenfranchised or down? Or perhaps the reporter just needed to juice-up his story. In any case, I just think that we ought to give poor ole Jack a break. I was taught not to kick a man when he is down.
Barry S. McDonald
Pine Bluff, AR