July 24, 1998
Peoria Journal Star
Attn: Scott Hilyard
1 News Plaza
Peoria, IL 61643
I am writing this letter because I am concerned about the way you portrayed Greta Alexander in your article concerning her death (July 18). At the same time, I am not sending it for publication as a letter to the editor because I do not want to be viewed as speaking ill of the dead or having a vendetta against Alexander.
Simply put, I do not believe your article lived up to the standard of journalism I am used to seeing from serious newspapers when it comes to these types of matters. It was very one-sided and ignored all skeptical information.
While I would not have expected to see a full article criticizing a well-known local woman who had just died, I also did not expect an article extolling her supposed powers as if they were an accepted fact. Alexander’s claims have been examined by a number of people (including a full chapter in the book, Psychic Sleuths) and have been found lacking. Even when police officers present testimonials to her great abilities, an objective study has found that the claims simply didn’t add up.
There was one part of the article that you got right – "She was no slouch at self-promotion." Indeed, I have openly admired her ability to promote herself. While you may not have realized it, when you stated that she did the police work for free, you were talking about that very self-promotion. She did it for free – and for free advertising. When she scored a "hit," she made sure the media knew it – sometimes even calling up the local TV stations to have them come interview her.
But now she has passed away. So why am I bothering to write this letter? Because I want to emphasize to you that while Alexander is gone, there are many others like her. They will make claims. They will call up reporters and the police. They will promote themselves. And I hope you exercise the proper skepticism rather than writing another one-sided article like this one.
If you would like to further discuss this issue, please feel free to contact me via mail, e-mail, or phone. One of the main goals of our organization is to provide information to the media in Central Illinois.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
David Bloomberg, Chairman
Association of Lincoln Land