Adding Unnecessary Fuel to 'Fuel' Fire

RECEIVED Mon., Dec. 15, 2008

Dear Editor,
    You added unnecessary fuel to the fire in your “Page Two” [Dec. 5] commentary about the controversy over the Chronicle review of Fuel [Film Listings, Nov. 21]. You made reference to a handful of readers who had castigated the review and the reviewer, apparently because they were less concerned with the cinematic quality of the film than with the goal “to get it seen by as many people as possible,” in your own words.
    If you had left it with that assessment, one probably would have few quibbles. Instead you added: “Once again it turns out that the Chronicle staff trusts its overall readership more than readers trust one another." Once again? That sentence is quite offensive. You’ve taken a tiny, probably unrepresentative group of readers – an extremely small fraction of your readership – and delivered an unwarranted judgment about our capacities for trust of one another.
    Your “once again” suggests this is a pattern among us. Your sentence betrays your own lack of trust in us, despite your final paragraph in which you state: “We trust the process, the paper, and our readers.”
    If you trust us, you will trust that we are not a homogeneous, monolithic audience, and so we will inevitably include some voices like those you deplore in your “Page Two” commentary. Please do not generalize about that subset and brand us all as an untrusting audience. To do so is ultimately an insult toward the process, the paper, and your readers.
John Rodden
   [Louis Black responds: You are absolutely right. I should have qualified it to say "more than some of our readers trust one another." I'm embarrassed; this really was thoughtless and lazy of me. I apologize to all and thank you for pointing this out.]
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