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VIACOMedy of Errors

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When I saw Sean McLaughlin's article, "Viacom Zaps Suddenlink," in the Oct. 23 issue, I was anxious to get the real story about why we Suddenlink subscribers have been deprived of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, among others. I say "anxious" because of the back and forth baloney from Suddenlink and Viacom.

Suddenlink agents have told me that it was Viacom's fault, since they requested a 50-percent increase from Suddenlink for carrying the content recently terminated. Some agents even claimed that Dish-Network and DirecTV no longer carry the dropped channels; not true! Bad Suddenlink!

Viacom placed print and TV ads which, in effect, asked Suddenlink customers to lobby for Viacom, demanding refunds. (What a clever, novel and hyper-corporate twist!) And to top that, Viacom blocked Suddenlink Internet customer's online access to Comedy Central, redirecting us (again) to web pages persuading us to ask for refunds or switch to satellite TV. A lot of the above is missing from the McLaughlin article.

As for the article itself, it does not measure up to the normally high journalism standards I've come to expect from the Journal. I found much of the text not easily decipherable, more like Shakespeare than Ed R. Morrow. For example, there's a quote from the "insider blog Eldo Telecom," loaded with jargon, without explanation. Much worse were the overlong, geeked-up sentences. (The sentence/paragraph with the Eldo quote ran 54 words.) And toward the end of the piece, I counted sentences of 53, 42 and 56 words. (Somebody get Marcy Burstiner, Grant Scott-Goforth or Thadeus Greenson on the phone!)

Based on what I know about journalism, these monster sentences have no place in a general circulation weekly. One final note: How ironic that Mr. McLaughlin is the executive director of Access Humboldt, yet I found the second half of his piece anything but accessible.

Andy Araneo, Freshwater


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