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Letter to the Editor: The Legion of Honor

Jan 15th, 2010 | By

To the editor:

Concerning the October 16 Associated Press item on Wynton Marsalis being awarded France’s Legion of Honor:

This was pretty straightforward in classic AP style, mentioning that other American recipients have included Renée Fleming and Barbra Streisand.

Fleming and Streisand are fine artists both, but: Am I the only who found unfortunate and glaring the omission of such names as, just from the last 20 years’ worth of American recipients, Miles Davis or Quincy Jones?

I can only lament the lack of relevant context the AP provided — or, in this case, didn’t.

In commiserating about this with a professional colleague far more knowledgeable than I about the workings of the newspaper-based press (Alex Jones of Harvard), he said it was probably a 22-year-old kid on the desk and that Fleming’s and Streisand’s were the first names to pop up on Google, deadline was looming, and what were the chances that he or she would know who Davis or Jones were, anyway?

Still, I have to wonder — and worry — that if even the AP, like too many print outlets, is losing editorial quality control in the current media climate, we are in worse shape than I already feared.

Or perhaps I should be impressed — or at least relieved — that the spelling of ‘Barbra’ was correct.

Sincerely,
Patrick Hinely

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About Patrick Hinely

Patrick Hinely has been photographing and writing about musicians since 1971.

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Filed In: Letters

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