Editorial Replies

Written and Delivered on Network TV Affiliates in Los Angeles

Back in the 1980s, when the Fairness Doctrine was still in force, broadcasters were required to discuss on the air controversial issues of public importance, as in editorials delivered by the station’s general manager, and then to also give airtime to contrasting views. Once on KCBS-TV and later on KABC-TV, network television affiliates in the Los Angeles area, I wrote (in keeping with the stations’ strict airtime limits) and delivered in studio editorial replies that were taped and soon broadcast throughout our metropolitan area.

A Broadcast Reply to a KCBS-TV Editorial, April 20, 1984

KCBS-TV Editorial Reply

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Audio Introduction: “Channel 2 has criticized the nighttime aerial spraying of malathion in Los Angeles. Here with a reply is Douglas E. Drenkow, agricultural and environmental author.”

We must consider biological controls for the prevention of Mexican fruit fly outbreaks.

Biological control typically uses predators and parasites to feed on pests. For example, “BT” bacteria are deadly to many caterpillars and fly maggots, but are relatively non-toxic to people, pets, and plants.

Biological controls are far less expensive in the long run than chemical controls, because the living creatures reproduce themselves. In Southern California avocado orchards, predators and parasites have been established for years and have eliminated countless insecticide applications.

Biological controls for an imported pest, such as the Mexican fruit fly, are often found in the pest’s native land. A century ago, the citrus industry in Southern California was almost wiped out by a pest accidentally imported from Australia; so a ladybug that feeds on the pest in Australia was intentionally imported: For five thousand dollars California’s multi-billion dollar citrus industry was saved.

Predators of fruit flies and their maggots include many spiders, praying mantids, las niñas de la tierra, ants, lizards, birds, and possums. Agricultural officials can properly supervise biological controls.

An ounce of biological prevention is worth a pound of chemical cure.

Note that the basis of these remarks was my well-reviewed, extensive research into the food webs of insects.

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A Broadcast Reply to a KABC-TV Editorial, January 7 & 8, 1987

KABC-TV Editorial Reply

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“Colorization” is the computerized paint-by-numbers bastardization of black-and-white films.

KABC-TV’s John Severino tells those offended — which includes most of Hollywood — to just turn down the TVs’ color; but just as it would be wrong to add colorful but unauthorized words to Mr. Severino’s editorials, it’s wrong to add color to films without the filmmakers’ permission.

The “color” of movies isn’t always the color of money. Greed breeds the fuzzy, gaudy mutant movies — we must boycott them! The colorized Yankee Doodle ain’t a dandy.

Ted Turner opposes vandalizing our environment but supports colorizing our entertainment!

Let’s see the light — it’s black-and-white!

Incidentally, Mr. Severino and I got along famously the day of the taping — we were able to respect each other’s point of view.

Note that this script was a condensed version of my Letter to the Editor that had been printed in the Los Angeles Times.

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