Letter: Commerce's Right to Communicate Shouldn't Be at the Cost of Individuals

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In Scott Hovanyetz's article ("DMA Shows Face of Telemarketing on Eve of Forum," DM News.com, June 5), the Direct Marketing Association's stance on telemarketing presents a face only a mother could love.

Its crocodile tears are over minorities and women (no orphans?) but conveniently ignore their employers, who want to continue making a lot of money from harassing people in their very homes -- at dinner, or entertaining, or just taking a snooze in front of the idiot box.

The same specious argument could be made for "depolicing" areas with high mugging rates because a disproportionate number of minority youth would be put out of work. And, as far as the teleservices industry generating "more than 6 million jobs and $270 billion in sales," just think of the economic dislocation for certain low-employment groups that would result from a serious crackdown on drugs and muggings.

With mailings, the trafficking in personal information is ethically challenged, but one can at least argue that direct mail revenues help shore up the postal system. There seems to be even less benefit that accrues to the public good from telemarketing. If it's in the public interest to guide jobless women into telemarketing only because it provides an income, should we expect the DMA also to endorse prostitution, as long as it can set up an appropriate membership class for madams?

Yes, commerce needs a voice. But its right to communicate shouldn't be at the cost of private individuals' rights.

Bob Karl, President, New Customer Acquisition, Medford, OR



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