City Weekly's Mixed Report Card
Oh, it's so difficult being a (retired) journalist and journalism professor! We see the good, bad and misspelled all around us.
Uplift: Your investigative reports, specifically Eric Ethington's "Boondoggled" piece [Opinion, June 21, City Weekly] is what we wish had wider readership and, therefore, more public awareness and action. And I would have loved to have been his teacher for no other reason than bragging rights.
Downside: To be honored by the Utah Headliners' Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists [house advertisement, June 21, City Weekly] is wonderful. Except (and you did see that coming!), I don't know if part of your award includes a spell check, since, as you report, you received 2nd Place (Eric S. Peterson, "Get in the Game") for best "colum."
Be assured, Peterson is well-deserving of the prize. Not so much to the editor of the side-bar acknowledging Peterson and other members of your staff.
Item last: There are many us who look to you for actual news and are quite thankful for your presence.
Negative Reviews Kept Us On the Ball
I was recently reminded of the great service food critic Ted Scheffler and City Weekly have contributed to the experience of Utah diners. I was in the restaurant business for 33 years with Hansom House, Zaccheo's and Mr. Z's.
Scheffler is knowledgeable not only about food service, quality, ambience and value; he is also candid and sincere in relating the good and bad experiences in dining at the places he reviewed. Any negative comments have been, in most cases, to our benefit—they kept us on the ball.
At the age of 80, I'm looking forward to my retirement. But I was always appreciative of Scheffler's work, especially when few articles at the time were being written in an objective manner.
Thanks for the memories, and keep up the good work!
John T. Zaccheo
Salt Lake City
Enhanced Torture Is for Amateurs
Thank you for publishing Zach Hagadone's article "The Silent Partner" [June 18, City Weekly]. It was insightful and informative on a topic of discussion sorely lacking in elegant discourse. As a veteran professional interrogator of 22 years, I applaud your efforts to bring to light many of the painful consequences of delving into the dark side of interrogation, euphemistically referred to as "enhanced interrogation techniques," but which, in reality, are simply torture.
Most people simply do not understand what good interrogation actually consists of. They mistakenly believe that brutal, base and aggressive techniques are necessary when fighting a determined and evil foe.
We perpetuate this pattern of ignorance by using the term "enhanced" interrogation. This conjures ideas of "better," "stronger," "improved" and "more effective." We should call abusive interrogation techniques what they really are: amateur interrogation techniques.
If we use accurate terms, we can avoid costly mistakes—such as when both Utah senators voted against the McCain-Feinstein Anti-Torture Amendment. Our representatives felt obliged to vote for torture, because they were ignorant of the abysmal record of amateur interrogation techniques.
Thankfully, the amendment passed overwhelmingly, showing that America is ready to move forward in improving professional interrogation.
Former interrogator /human intelligence officer, U.S. Army