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The Editor's Job 

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Both playwright and polemicist Tony Kushner and Sun-Times theater critic Hedy Weiss have points to make in the dispute described by Michael Miner in his June 4 Hot Type column "Pride and Prejudice."

But Miner and Kushner go too far in seeking to bring Weiss's editors into this. A critic or a columnist stands or falls on his or her own words and judgments. An editor of an opinion writer is there to give that writer his berth and defend his right to write what he thinks. In this case the editors did that and also quite legitimately gave the object of Weiss's scorn, Kushner, the space to respond as he wished.

And Miner and/or Kushner also err here in attempting to tar Sun-Times Sunday Showcase editor Laura Emerick with any blame. Either Kushner misquotes Emerick in saying that she called Weiss's reference to Kushner as "a self-loathing Jew" "a good clean shot," or Miner puts quotation marks around something that Kushner said and attributes it to Emerick. Laura Emerick has been my editor at the Sun-Times for my more than 13 years as a contributor to the paper. She is a professional of a very high order. This simply does not sound like something that she would say or even how she would say it. My inquiries into this indicate that Kushner says that she didn't say it either.

Andrew Patner

Critic-at-large, 98.7 WFMT

Contributing critic,

Chicago Sun-Times

Michael Miner replies:

Even the best writers with all the autonomy in the world need and deserve a whispered word of caution every now and then. Weiss could have said the same thing, or something so close as to make no difference, yet given Kushner no cause to complain. Editors have a formal responsibility to point such things out.

I asked Kushner what Emerick said to him when they spoke and put quote marks around what he said was her response, even though I took it to be a paraphrase. The quote marks were there to help readers navigate the sentence. I'm sorry they were misleading.

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