A Favor for San Diego Earth Day?

Fri, 22 Jan 1999 16:54:42 -0500

I know I bombard many of you with too much email asking for you to write
and call and fax on many different things. But I want to make a special
Earth Day appeal to everyone on my list to please respond to this one.

Over the years of organizing volunteers to put on the EarthFair in Balboa,
we have always struggled with getting fair media coverage. For the most
part, we've done ok and some years we did pretty good. But this year, the
headlines & key photo choice in the major newspaper in town, the Copley
Press-owned San Diego Union-Tribune was particularly loathsome.

We are asking that you email or FAX a letter of complaint to the SD
Union-Tribune. For the exact details of our complaints, see the letter

Any and all Board Members, exhibitors, volunteers, attendees and supporters
of the EarthFair and San Diego Earth Day are urged to send your own note to
the SD-UT!

Many of us have had an experience that the EarthFair makes a difference and
we need to stand-up for that in the media, not the trash they select to
feed us based on their prejudiced and intolerant perspectives.

Thanks for what you can do!

Letter to the Editor Earth Day, April 22, 1997
San Diego Union-Tribune
P.O. Box 191
San Diego CA 92112-4106 VIA FAX: 293-1440
email: letters@uniontrib.com

EarthFair Coverage Reveals Bias of U-T
Insult to San Diego Earth Day volunteers and public

Dear Editors:

We are writing to object strenuously to the headlines and photo choices for
this year's SD-UT coverage of the 8th annual EarthFair in Balboa Park on
April 21 and April 22.

While an estimated 75,000 people came to the park to visit almost 250
exhibitors, see a Children's Parade of 400, and the efforts of 300
community-service volunteers, the headline the Union-Trib printed was
"EarthFair draws nudists, psychics - and ecologists."

FYI there was only one table out of 247 exhibitors promoting nudist camping
(which you made the focus of last year's coverage as well) and there were
no "psychics" registered as such with event organizers.

Much worse was your selection of the photo of one t-shirt (out of at least
10,000 at the event) saying "I Kill Hunters for Fun and Sport." This
t-shirt is not an EarthFair t-shirt, but is available in retail outlets
throughout Southern California and was brought to the event by one of our

The U-T obviously knows that event organizers have little control over
statements such as this, nor can we stop publishers such as yourself from
running such a message. But our question to you is why choose this
message? Out of 75,000 stories at the EarthFair why choose this one?

The following day's coverage was then utterly predictable with the
inaccurate headline "Earth Day t-shirt tees off hunters."

It was not the t-shirt that teed off the hunters, it was the picture of the
t-shirt run in the U-T!

Of the thousands of people walking past this booth, some were probably
equally offended. and most simply ignored it, but it was the U-T that
printed thousands of copies of this message.

Does this say more about those of us trying to make a better world? Or does
it say more about how the Union-Tribune editors choose to characterize and
magnify out-of-proportion the more extreme elements of any large public

You chose to take something fundamentally good and represent it as freakish
and extreme.

Shame on you Union-Tribune!

We call on you to print this response at the very least, and if you have an
ounce of moral courage, we invite you to print a correction and an apology.

The Board of Directors, Staff and Volunteers of San Diego Earth Day
Carolyn Chase - SDED Board member, co-founder
Julaine Chattaway, SDED Restoration project staff
Kari Gray, EarthFair Organizer
Chris Klein, EarthFair production supervisor, co-founder, SDED