Recently, the Memphis Flyer left its readers and online viewers of reporter Chris Davis' blog with some false impressions ("No Cheap Shots?," August 10th issue). In print and online, the Flyer was factually incorrect on several key details related to Commercial Appeal political reporter Halimah Abdullah and made false assertions about her reporting.
The article not only contained the wrong attendance dates and the wrong school for Abdullah but also falsely implied she was a friend of 9th Congressional District candidate Nikki Tinker while both attended the University of Alabama's main campus. Not true. Both attended Alabama, a school with 22,000 students, but were years apart and did not know each other on campus. Both are members of the same sorority for professional black women, along with 250,000 other women worldwide, but only met this year on the campaign trail.
Further, the suggestion on Davis' blog site that as a Muslim woman, Abdullah would be unable to cover Jewish candidate Steve Cohen fairly is every bit as racist as some of the rhetoric that punctuated the 9th Congressional District race. We would hope that Davis would exercise better journalistic judgment.
Abdullah's political coverage has been well-written, well-researched, and objective and will continue to be. Respectfully, we would ask that the Flyer hold to higher journalistic standards for accuracy and fairness.
Chris Peck, Editor
The Commercial Appeal
Editor's note: The Flyer is not responsible for the opinions of Chris Davis as expressed on his blog or those of the commenters thereon. We stand by the reporting of Davis that appeared in the Flyer.
I'm flattered John Branston (City Beat, August 10th issue) considers the Libertyland issue a waste of my "talents," but people should understand it was not an impractical, nostalgia-muddied "lost cause." Former Libertyland officers and professionals from for-profit amusement-park companies repeatedly told us that, properly managed, Libertyland could turn a profit. One such professional offered to buy it and run it after accompanying me on a personal inspection of the rides and the park's attendance records. Even the Mid-South Fair company itself stated that Libertyland wouldn't lose money if the city gave it a long-term contract.
Closing Libertyland meant canceling over 500 summer jobs for area inner-city teens, a predictable rise in summer teen crime, and the loss of tax revenue while the vacant property attracts vandals for the next two years. All this despite the fact that the park did not conflict with the ongoing plans for the Kroc Center and other recreational uses for different parts of the Fairgrounds. So much for Memphis "moving ahead."
Branston wonders how, as county commissioner, I'll handle "appeals from special interests at budget-setting time." But it was precisely my fight to save Libertyland that shows I can stand up to the special interests who stand to profit from the commercial development of the park site.
I'm glad to hear that Branston voted for me despite his Libertyland misgivings, and I'm happy to say I supported him in his Memphis Charter Commission bid. He's a good writer and I normally agree with him, but on the Libertyland issue he's been taken for a ride.
I am writing to request your support in defeating the proposed amendment to the Tennessee constitution regarding a ban on same-sex marriage. I feel, and hope you might as well, this is an issue so fundamental to segments of Memphis' population that it deserves attention. I hope you will do your part to prevent your neighbors from enshrining discrimination permanently in our constitution this fall.
You're a long-running independent source of news and views for the Memphis area, one whose no-nonsense philosophy I've always respected and enjoyed. Raise your voice this year to counter bigotry and ensure for Memphians and Tennesseans a brighter and at least moderate path to equality and understanding. Add your name to the growing list of institutions opposing this amendment at the following Web site: http://votenoon1tn.com/leaders.php. Thank you.
Michael Aaron StevensGermantown
Editor's note: The Flyer is on the record as being opposed to amending the Tennessee constitution to ban gay marriage. No doubt, we will be covering the issue in depth this fall.