No news is good news

    It's tough to champion an underdog cause.  Most activists draw little attention to their impassioned fights.   Nobody listens.
    Sometimes they get the feeling reporters and editors don't want to hear their points of view.
    But at least most newsrooms are subtle about their rejection.   Here in Des Moines, KCCI faxed a letter to Carl Olsen of Iowa NORML (the group pushing for legalization of marijuana) telling him to stop sending faxes.
    "We do not wish to receive any more faxes from your organization, or its subsidiaries," the form letter reads.  "Any further faxes sent to (515) 244-0202 from your organization will be considered unsolicited, and subject to regulations and punishments under U.S. Code Title 47, 227(b)(1)(c)."
    As Olsen puts it, "You have to love news organizations that threaten legal action for receiving news."
    KCCI later calmed the waters by saying it didn't realize the faxes were coming directly from Olsen in Des Moines, and not from the national NORML group.  For about a year, KCCI has been on a kick to weed out extraneous faxes.
    "I guess I'm enough of a '60s radical to care about wasting paper," news director Dave Busiek later explained to Olsen, "More important, this stuff is just a pain to deal with, just as spam and telephone solicitation calls at the dinner hour are a pain.
    The problem is we get all these junk faxes, and the local folks we want to hear from can't get through on the fax line."

February 24, 1999, Page 4
fax 515-288-0309