“You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” — centuries-old proverb
I recently returned from a long vacation to hundreds of e-mails and letters from readers and scores of telephone messages I am still trying to return. Among the written comments were these:
• “Two or three stories in the Express-News, in connection with the appointment of a new CEO/General Manager for CPS Energy have referred to CPS Energy as the nation’s largest municipally owned electric utility. I believe this is flat-out wrong. …
“Just an FYI. Keep up the good work — the E-N … has weathered the media downturn better than many other papers. I especially appreciate your willingness to undo cutbacks when you see they went too far — a prime example being restoring a full food/restaurant section into the Sunday paper after it was excised from Wednesday.”
• “Hi Bob — I want to congratulate you and the Express-News on your great coverage of the voter intimidation fiasco in Pennsylvania. Your in-depth reporting is beyond comparison. Of course, it really is a minor issue. It only has to do with a citizen’s ability to freely exercise his/her right to vote, one of the fundamental principles of our country. Who in the world would ever be interested in that!
“Pretty soon you and the Express-News will become as irrelevant as the United Nations. And you will only have yourselves to blame. Keep up the great work! You are truly committed to your calling and to journalistic integrity. I hope you can walk around with your head held high and proud of what you do!”
Maney suggested the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is larger than CPS, and research by Express-News energy reporter Tracy Idell Hamilton confirmed that. Maney’s letter resulted in the Express-News amending its archives. That will make our people who write and edit CPS Energy stories more accurate, and his input is welcome.
Kowalsky’s sarcastic missive, on the other hand, vastly overrated a story even conservative radio yakkers have abandoned. And his overwrought comment prompted this overwrought, smarmy comment from me:
“Thanks. Yes, I am proud of what I do and proud that the Founders thought enough of what journalists do to ensure protections for us in the U.S. Constitution.
“What do you do? How do you like it when people talk to you like what you do is worthless? Not a very nice message, Ed. You need to improve your people skills. But thanks for taking the time to let us know what you think.”
Bottom line: If you seek to criticize, this newspaper or anything, why not do it civilly? Do as Maney did, not as Kowalsky — and I — did.
A man died here this week in a road rage incident because he stopped to pick flowers for his wife and the guy in the car behind him didn’t like it (Page 1, Thursday). The temperatures are rising. Human beings need to stay cool.
As another Express-News reader, clinical psychologist Dr. Tova Rubin, said, in a Friday letter to the editor: “He who angers you, conquers you.”
This column was originally published in the San Antonio Express-News on Aug. 8, 2010.