|ICFA Responds to NY Times Editorial on Funeral Industry Misconduct
On September 9, the ICFA sent the following letter to the editor of The New York Times in response to an Op-Ed Page editorial.
Letters to the Editor
The New York Times
229 West 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036
Re: 9/3/02 Editorial, "Before WorldCom,
the Funeral Industry Set the Standard for Veniality"
Adam Cohen's 9/3 editorial linking the recent corporate accounting scandals to funeral industry misconduct is "over the top" by any fair-minded standard. The fact that Mr. Cohen had to reach back to an anecdote in a 40-year-old book by the late Jessica Mitford to support his theory suggests its unreasonableness. Ms. Mitford herself proved an unreliable barometer of industry misconduct as seen in her circa 1992 appearance on "Nightline," when she dismissed an incident of commingling cremated remains as, "Who cares? They're dead," shocking both host Ted Koppel and the funeral industry members watching the broadcast.
Currently, the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress, has launched an inquiry into the effectiveness of state regulation over the industry, an investigation publicly advocated by this Association. Mr. Cohen's editorial demonstrated the emotional pitch that funeral-related misconduct can generate, making careful deliberation by legislators all the more crucial. We recommend that Congress should consider the findings and recommendations of the GAO before drafting any proposed legislation.
Very truly yours,
Robert M. Fells
External Chief Operating Officer
and General Counsel