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poltical anonymnity (Open Letter)



Mr. Young:  

Your address was the only email address at cbsnews that I had handy, so 
you get a copy of my open letter, which is being CC'd to the cypherpunks 
mailing list ([email protected]). It would be much apreciated if you 
could pass a copy of this along to Jonathan Klein, Andrew Hayward (fat 
chance, eh?) and to Joe Klein as well.  Also, if you can point me to some 
more appropriate email addresses at cbsnews, I would be most thankful.

TIA 

Ben 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
   NEW YORK (Reuter) - One of the best kept secrets in political,
   journalistic and publishing circles was revealed Wednesday when
   Newsweek journalist Joe Klein admitted he was ''Anonymous'', the
   mysterious author of a novel based on President Clinton's 1992
   presidential campaign.

   [...]

   CBS News later said it was unhappy with Klein, who works for the
   network as a political consultant.

   ``We are obviously disturbed by the fact that Joe Klein was not
   forthcoming with us nor with nearly anyone else of his authorship of
   the novel 'Primary Colors,''' CBS News executive Vice President
   Jonathan Klein (no relation) said in a statement. He said network
   president Andrew Hayward would meet the author next week to discuss
   the matter.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'd like to speak in defense of Mr. Klein: 

Anonymity has been a big part of the American political process from the 
very inception of the constution of the United States. Even the most 
simplistic mind is capable of considering and making decisions not only 
about the content of a particular work, but also about the credibility of 
the source. We all do this exact thing hundreds of times a day in our 
everyday dealings. 

The ability to publish anonymously, particularly the ability to publish 
political statements anonymously, is a valuable tool for giving people an 
unbiased view of political issues. Forcing people to put their names on 
documents which may subject them to social, economic, or political 
retaliation is a sure way to guarantee that the most corrupt political 
groups are able to acquire and maintain places of leadership within our 
society.

Information - even false, biased, and misleading information - is the 
cornerstone of sound decision making. The idea that a person should 
invariably be "honest" and "forthcoming" about authorship of a political 
work tears at the very roots of the american political process.

It is my strong oppinion that Jon Klein has done his network a grave 
disservice with his recent announcement - how can the public expect 
to be presented the facts on any story when their organisation is 
obviously more concerned with maintaining accountability to the various 
and sundry political factions than they are with presenting all sides of 
an issue for evaluation?

Ben Holiday

[email protected]