Since Sept. 11, the Village Voice—led by civil libertarian extraordinaire Nat Hentoff—has presented numerous articles detailing how President Bush’s Cabinet has been turning the United States into a police state (e.g., the so-called Patriot Act) and informing people how to get involved, organize, and fight these unconstitutional actions. What has the Washington City Paper been doing along those lines in the same period of time? An example from a recent issue: joking that the Metropolitan Police Department put a surveillance camera on top of the Banana Republic store in Georgetown in order to ogle women customers (“NIMBY Tribunal,” 2/8).
This would be funny if America weren’t turning into a police state. Instead of weekly reporting on this fact and informing your readers how their rights are being violated—and what to do about it—you pooh-pooh potential and real violations of civil liberties and joke about the old, tired stereotype of policemen checking out attractive women.
My question to the City Paper is this: Are you going to tell your readers what’s really going on in this country? Or are you just going to conduct business as usual and print this letter with a cutesy, tongue-in-cheek headline?