Help, I’m Flooded With Email! What Should I Do?

More from our inbox:

  • The Dawn of a More Moderate Era in Cable News? Not Likely.
  • Merrick Garland ‘Must Not Be Baited’
  • Speech on Campus

Credit…Pete Gamlen

To the Editor:

Re “Your Email Does Not Constitute My Emergency,” by Adam Grant (Opinion guest essay, April 15):

Thank you, Mr. Grant, for lifting a huge weight off my conscience.

Though I am long retired, I find that my inbox is still filled with communications of varying urgency, more than I can possibly answer immediately, if ever.

I recently received a stinging rebuke from a (now former) friend for taking three weeks to reply to her chatty, non-time-sensitive email, which arrived when I was overwhelmed with matters that required my urgent attention.

When I finally did answer, with an apology, she made it clear that she regarded promptness as politeness, and that her priorities took precedence over mine. Mr. Grant’s words about women feeling guilty for nonresponsiveness were a balm to my heart.

I will try to practice Mr. Grant’s suggestions about communicating digital boundaries and resetting norms, which I’ve always implied when I write to others, but never articulated until now.

Margaret Scrogin Chang
Bainbridge Island, Wash.

To the Editor:

I totally disagree with “Your Email Does Not Constitute My Emergency.” People used to just show up at your door and expect to be invited in. People used to call, and you were expected to answer, not even knowing who the caller was.

If you’re too busy to reply to an email or text, just say so. Be polite and respond; don’t just ignore it. Saying something like “I have a lot on my plate right now, I will get back to you soon” is the courteous response.

Fran Heyman
Hartsdale, N.Y.

To the Editor:

I appreciate what Adam Grant says about the pressure recipients feel to respond immediately to email messages. The burden should not be all on recipients.

In fact, most email platforms have the capability to “schedule send” an email so that the message can be delivered at any hour of the sender’s choice — ideally, during typical work hours so as to relieve the recipient of any sense of urgency to reply.

Scheduling emails puts the responsibility on the sender, and using this function can minimize the onslaught of emails arriving at all hours of the day and night.

Yael Buechler

To the Editor:

Admittedly, we’re all swimming in emails. Yet on occasion there may well be urgent matters that must be communicated, as I’m sure Adam Grant understands.

It’s an indication of how much our communications culture has changed that the word “phone” never appears in his article.

Dennis Signorovitch
Los Angeles

The Dawn of a More Moderate Era in Cable News? Not Likely.

Credit…Rebecca Noble for The New York Times, Erin Schaff for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Cable News Turns Page After Hosts Are Let Go” (news analysis, Business, April 26):

Jim Rutenberg’s article about whether, taken together, the firings of Tucker Carlson at Fox News and Don Lemon at CNN might signal the dawn of a more moderate era in cable news can be answered with a quote by the writer and muckraker Upton Sinclair: “It’s difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

In the cutthroat, highly competitive cable news cosmos, it’s not about principle and what’s good for the country; it’s about who can garner the highest ratings in the important demographic groups and score the most revenue.

Certainly, both cable-news networks were well aware of what they were getting with each anchor, and let them go on until their actions proved too much.

Bret Stephens’s column “The Tragedy of Fox News” (April 26) sums up my feelings exactly about that network’s missing a golden opportunity of being a reasoned voice for conservative views, instead of the haven for right-wing extremist views and personalities that it has become.

I would extend his musings about what might have been to former President Donald Trump himself. Once in office, he might have parlayed his appeal to the working class into something special, a political outlier beholden to no particular party or special interests who instead was acting on behalf of people across the socioeconomic and political spectrums.

Greg Joseph
Sun City, Ariz.
The writer is a retired journalist and television critic.

To the Editor:

At this moment, there exists a great opportunity for some astute broadcaster.

Tucker Carlson and Don Lemon could co-host a show on which they would have to speak with one another like gentlemen and actually address issues of public concern in a coherent, common-sense manner. There is a possibility that such a show might encourage the citizens of this country to engage in respectful, productive dialogue as well.

Carmine Stoffo
Staten Island

Merrick Garland ‘Must Not Be Baited’

Credit…Valerie Plesch for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “The Cost of Merrick Garland’s Silence,” by Jeffrey Toobin (Opinion guest essay, April 23):

Mr. Toobin seeks to understand Attorney General Merrick Garland’s relative silence regarding the Justice Department’s investigation of the Jan. 6 insurrection. Mr. Garland, Mr. Toobin worries, has “largely left the stage” to Donald Trump, whose comments at a recent rally “must have looked like a provocation, if not a taunt, to Mr. Garland.”

Mr. Toobin says “it is fair to question why Mr. Garland continues to be a quiet, if not silent, public voice about the Trump investigation.”

No, it is not. Mr. Garland must not be baited. Anything he says outside court can be used to challenge a future indictment and the ethics of Mr. Garland himself. That challenge will fail, but it will cause delay and be cited as proof of a witch hunt.

Mr. Garland’s stage is the courtroom. He knows that if there is a charge, the noise from Mr. Trump’s performances will be drowned out by an indictment’s specific details. And he knows that a trial judge has ample tools to ensure that an eventual jury makes its decision based only on testimony and documents admitted under the rules of evidence.

Stephen Gillers
New York
The writer is professor emeritus at the New York University School of Law.

Speech on Campus

Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida publicly signing HB7, also called the “stop woke” bill.Credit…Daniel A. Varela/Miami Herald, via Associated Press

To the Editor:

Re “The Gravest Threats to Campus Speech Come From States,” by Christina Paxson (Opinion guest essay, April 23):

While it’s heartening to see the president of Brown University describe the dangers posed by laws in states like Florida and Texas to what can be taught and said in college classrooms, the voices of leaders of public colleges and universities must be heard. It is, after all, their institutions that are most at risk.

While organizations representing public and private institutions of higher education have published statements opposing efforts by lawmakers to interfere with college curriculums, and more than 100 retired presidents — many of them from public institutions — joined an initiative to combat government restrictions on colleges and universities, current presidents and chancellors at public institutions and systems must use their bully pulpits to fight back.

Silence in the face of state-sponsored censorship is appeasement.

Michael W. Klein
Allenhurst, N.J.
The writer is the former executive director of the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities.

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