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Massage Today
January, 2002, Vol. 02, Issue 01

We Get Letters & E-Mail

By Editorial Staff

"Decide the true road this publication should take"

Dear Editor:

Did anyone else find the combination of articles in the December issue of Massage Today curious? In his editorial entitled "Bias and Perception," Cliff Korn writes, as explanation of his editorial in the previous issue, that it "was about working together." He ends his editorial, after a wonderful review of the tres bien AMTA convention in Quebec City, by stating that the assumption should not be made "that we're all working against one another." Ralph Stephens writes in "Why We Do What We Do": "Just remember, our professional debates should stay on the plane of ideas, and never descend to the plane of personalities."

Both of these views are admirable.

Unfortunately, Mr. Donald Petersen Jr., publisher of Massage Today, does not seem to share these ideals, as evidenced by his contribution to this issue. Rather, he writes an article that in my view not only "descends to the plane of personalities," but is nothing more than an attempt to play his views out in a court of public opinion, which is most inappropriate.

One cannot be deemed credible if arrows are being slung while words of welcome and openness are being spoken. It appears as though the individuals responsible for Massage Today need to decide the true road this publication will take and the image they wish to portray.

M.K. Knollmeyer
Charlotte, North Carolina


Publisher's Response

Ms. Knollmeyer:

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. You raise some important questions that deserve to be answered. As this lawsuit proceeds and we report various details in the publication, it's important to clarify what our position is and isn't.

Massage Today's desire to build a strong relationship with the AMTA was demonstrated from our very first issue, which featured a front-page story extolling the AMTA's valuable 2000 Consumer Survey.1 You will note that Massage Today continues to publish positive articles about the AMTA. As a news publication, we strive to provide just that: news for and about massage therapy. We make no qualification as to the source of the news, so long as it is deemed valid and of interest to the profession.

In addition, it's important to note our selection of Cliff Korn as editor of Massage Today; Cliff is president of the AMTA-New Hampshire chapter.

AMTA's response to our article on their consumer survey in our first issue was rather surprising. Rather than show appreciation for the positive publicity, the AMTA decided to sue Massage Today for using AMTA's name in this specific article in the first two counts of their lawsuit. As these counts had no legal support, the judge dismissed them, along with counts regarding our sending Massage Today to their members, before any evidence was even heard.2

We repeatedly called the AMTA to discuss their concerns regarding the directory issue, but AMTA refused to take or return our calls. Had we the opportunity to discuss the directory issue with the AMTA before they filed their lawsuit, we could have shown them that directories such as theirs are not protected anymore than the local phone book. Anyone can take names, addresses and phone numbers from a phone directory and use them how they wish.3 If not, we'd all be paying the phone book companies every time we used any information in their phone books.

Since the judge has thrown out all but one issue of the lawsuit without even hearing any evidence, we now find ourselves in a very frustrating position. We are compelled to ask the judge to sanction the AMTA for filing a lawsuit with little or no merit. If we prevail, this will almost double the amount of money the AMTA members will be paying for a lawsuit many have plainly stated they don't want and of which they disapprove.4

Massage Today feels an obligation to warn AMTA members about the potential loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars of their money if the AMTA is forced to pay for both their legal expenses and ours. This would be news even if we weren't involved, because it affects over 25% of this profession.

So the answer to your feeling that the December issue of Massage Today sends a mixed message is this:

  • We very much want to have a positive and productive relationship with the AMTA. This is currently hampered by a lawsuit that will likely end in the AMTA members paying dearly for issues that could have been resolved had the AMTA not chosen their attorneys as their first avenue of communication.
  • We are attempting to supply this information publicly, as we believe all have a right to know. Had this been a lawsuit with another corporation, we would not feel compelled to share the information with its employees. But the AMTA is a membership organization, and we firmly believe that every member has a right to know every detail, especially when members are ultimately paying the legal bills. When we do publish our point of view, it is clearly stated and delineated by our "Publisher's Note."
  • We are including the comments of people like yourself in Massage Today, even though they may be contrary to our opinions. This is what being an open forum is all about; every massage therapist gets to express their feelings or, as you put it, "play his views" on the issues. We don't all have to agree on all issues, we just need to be willing to listen as well as talk. That's what makes Massage Today unique.

Again, thank you for your comments, and for the time you took to address this issue. We hope you continue to read and enjoy Massage Today for its commitment to publishing timely news and information regarding the massage therapy profession.

References

  1. AMTA consumer survey reveals trends in massage. Massage Today, January 2001. www.massagetoday.com/archives/2001/01/03.html.
  2. Most of AMTA lawsuit thrown out of court. Massage Today, October 2001. www.massagetoday.com/archives/2001/10/06.html.
  3. Feist Publications, Inc. v. Rural Telephone Service Co., 499 U.S. 340 (1991).
  4. AMTA lawsuit: lots of letters & e-mail." Massage Today, July 2001. www.massagetoday.com/archives/2001/07/05.html.

 

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