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New Times must be intimidated by an advertiser 

Al Fonzi. Like a persistent cockroach, his column keeps appearing in your paper in spite of many well-argued letters calling for you to stop publishing his irrational, ultra-partisan rants.

In his latest screed ("Stoking the fires of division," Aug. 15), Fonzi rails against the so-called "progressive agenda," stating without evidence that leftists in America wish to destroy the Constitution and Bill of Rights, take away all guns, eliminate the market economy and the middle class, persecute religious believers, and, yes, "impose a socialist dictatorship upon the nation." This sort of sensational and irrational fearmongering echoes the poison spread by ultra-partisan news outlets, troll farms, and fringe websites. It has no place in a newspaper that purports to encourage reasonable public discourse.

Yes, we can discuss issues such as health care, gun control, climate change, and inequality, but we can do so without demonizing, bullying, and distorting the ideas presented by those who disagree with us. Fonzi ends with an ominous warning about "blood in the streets of America," a thinly veiled incitement to violence that only stokes the fires of hysteria burning through what is left of rational public discourse in this country.

How can the editors of New Times continue to support and publish Fonzi's poorly-argued and incendiary rants in light of today's political climate? Yes, there are irrational extremists on the other side as well, but they haven't been given a regular column in your paper. I can only guess that some well-heeled advertiser or sponsor has intimidated the editorial board into presenting Fonzi's column with the aim of furthering Fonzi's sort of ultra-right political agenda.

Raoul Wise

Shell Beach

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