To: "Editor, NC Times" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: "Russell D. Hoffman" <email@example.com>
Subject: A letter to the North County Times: Correcting a false impression you made to your readers
Cc: "Phil Diehl" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Pdbsongs1@cs.com
Date: March 3rd, 2002
To The Editor,
Your willingness to publish biased puff-pieces for Southern California Edison, written by Phil Diehl and full of inaccurate, unfounded, unscientific, and even inhumane quotes from San Onofre's infamous mouthpiece, Ray Golden, has apparently survived the sale of your paper completely intact.
So little has changed, that it was no surprise to find myself cited when in fact, no interview had been done and I had not commented on the particular item, namely, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's new guidelines (some may call them rules, but they seem pretty flexible to me) for security at nuclear power plants.
However, surprise or not, the fact of the matter is, you have abused the privilege of your position and the position your paper holds in the community, as the "paper of record" in North County, San Diego, California, by giving your readers the false impression that Phil Diehl had attempted to get both sides of a story. In creating this false impression, Mr. Diehl used my name and Patricia Borchmann's name. I demand that you reveal these facts to your readers, apologize for this action, and publish this entire letter to set the record straight.
Fortunately, I will note in passing, that what little you published as my opinion was probably reasonably accurate, but so brief as to be quite useless and not, in any event, what I would have said. It's clear from the many quotes in the article that Mr. Diehl spent a good deal of time interviewing Ray Golden for his opinion. Patricia Borchmann was also cited in the article, and yet, in a conversation with her this morning, I learned that she also had not been interviewed.
This letter is a response to this specific breach of integrity, but for years your paper has failed to report the truth about San Onofre -- it should be shut down, and there are 1000 reasons why. You've published our conclusion once or twice, but never actually done any of the factual, unbiased -- and thus, scathing -- reports on that nuclear waste heap that really need to be done -- and done again, if that's what it takes to finally wake the public up to the real dangers that San Onofre's nuclear power plants pose.
So here are a few statements you could have used, first from me, and then from Patricia:
From Russell Hoffman:
"The NRC's new nuclear security rules, from what little can be ascertained about them, are utterly insufficient to protect the public, as any fool can tell. The plants are dangerous with or without terrorism as an added "wrench in the works". The entire area we live in could be permanently wiped out -- all of San Diego AND Orange Counties. In the event of a nuclear accident -- an inevitability sooner or later, if we don't shut the plants down -- hundreds of thousands or even millions could die, and the area would have to be permanently abandoned. The accident would cost trillions of dollars too, and bankrupt California in an instant. The nuclear industry knows this. The government knows this. Most of the people know this, too. Yet, in the lame hope that the terrorists somehow don't know this, we all keep quiet about it. For more than half a century, people have kept quiet about the dangers from nuclear power plants, but the literature, if one bothers to do the research, is unquestionably clear. Nuclear power was never safe, was never cost-effective, was never a good replacement for a concentrated effort in building renewable energy systems for everyone, and living within our renewable-energy production capabilities as much as possible. Reducing fossil fuel use is certainly important, but shutting down the nukes across America is infinitely more important."
From Patricia Borchmann:
"I did not appreciate being quoted by Phil Diehl without having been interviewed or even contacted for comment. The quotes taken were incomplete and superficial and were taken out of context. Readers may want to visit www.nuclearwitness.org . This web site contains facts by technical experts with documents supporting all their assertions."
Patricia Borchmann has also sent you a letter separately with additional comments which we hope you will publish.
And since your readers now know (assuming you have the moral fortitude to publish this letter intact) that when they read an article in your paper that quotes Patricia or myself, or mentions us, or discusses our positions on the issues, it is entirely possible that NO INTERVIEW was done, I think it would be a good idea to give them our email addresses and our contact information, so that anyone who wishes to contact us to find out what we think about the local impact of some outrageous NRC ruling, or some other related issue, will know where to go to find out what we really said.
Patricia Borchmann's email address:
"Patricia Borchmann" Pdbsongs1@cs.com
Russell Hoffman's email address:
"Russell Hoffman" email@example.com
Russell Hoffman's web site:
www.animatedsoftware.com (click on "Glossary of U.S. Nuclear Power Plants" to get into the nuclear area).