Letter from Mitch Hall to Eastern Arizona Courier
January 1, 2003

From: Mitch Hall
Date: Wed Jan 01, 2003 01:39:34 PM US/Eastern
To: tjking@eacourier.com
Subject: responsible journalism

Dear Mr. King,

As a professional journalist, what would you think if you learned that a community newspaper was publishing editorials and letters that recommended that young children should be encouraged to watch a few hours of violent television programming per day to prepare them for the "real world," even though the consensus of over a thousand scientific studies is that such viewing makes children more aggressive, more afraid of the world, and less sensitive to the suffering of others? I hope you would share my view that such a journalist is misleading the public and is exacerbating a serious public health problem. What would you think if a journalist advocated a parental behavior that numerous credible scientific studies over more than the past 50 years have shown is causally linked to poorer school performance, physical and mental health problems, disturbed sleep, physical injuries, violence, and poor self-esteem? I am talking about corporal punishment. In this case, I regret that your and my opinions differ because you are, if I am correctly informed, an editor who has publicly advocated parental disciplinary spanking of children. I am saddened that a person in your influential position has not done your homework by learning what the most highly respected psychologists, pediatricians, sociologists, and educators have concluded about the harmfulness of corporal punishment. In the interests of the children of families who read your paper, and in the general public interest, please do your homework. This is not an easy issue for most people to face and can bring up emotional pain and confusion. However, the future of humanity can be improved if more people develop the conscience and compassion to recognize that children need to be raised in non-punitive and supportive ways. I wish you the courage, intellectual integrity, and moral decency to reconsider your position on this subject by reading what the most respected and credible researchers have discovered.

Best new year's wishes,

Mitch Hall


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