FRIDAY’S LETTERS: Former ‘Blade’ Staffer Finds Investigation ‘Beyond Revolting,’ Mitchell’s Column Hits a Nerve

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By: E&P Staff

In today’s edition, a former Toledo Blade staffer reacts to news of that paper’s newsroom investigation, and many thoughts on Greg Mitchell’s dire scenario for the next 33 months.


Another Perspective on the Blade’s Post-Pulitzer Investigation

I read with great interest this morning [Joe Strupp’s] story on the Coingate flap and the anonymous letter sent to the Pulitzer people challenging the integrity of my former colleagues’ work.

Though I’m no longer employed by The Blade, I still have ties to the newspaper, and I wanted to take the liberty — with no prodding from anyone — to provide some background information.

I was at The Blade when the Coingate series evolved in late ’05.. Though I was NOT involved in the work, I still remember the tips coming into the paper in early December. I can tell you that the reporters who seized the story and began to look into Noe’s background have great integrity and were hearing these tips for the first time — the very reason they were launching into an investigation.

If Fritz Wenzel knew about allegations or a federal investigation into Noe, he did not tell anyone at the newspaper, including his editors. I was a manager there at the time, and I’m certain he told no one.

It’s disheartening and dishonest for anyone to say otherwise. There’s an old saying: the Pulitzers being the best and the worst out in people. This is the worst. I still cannot understand why someone from the newspaper would do this. It was professionally wrong — and morally wrong.

If there’s an issue involving Wenzel — fine. So be it. Get to the bottom of it and expose it. He deserves to be pulled out into the sunlight so he can be judged by a community of his peers. But for anyone to somehow imply that my former colleagues were in any way involved — especially as they competed for the Pulitzer — is beyond revolting. The very fact they broke one of the biggest political scandals in Ohio’s history speaks for itself. They didn’t cover it up. They brought it to light.

Michael Sallah
Investigations Editor
Miami Herald
Miami, Fla.


Mitchell’s Column Hits a Nerve

The only legal remedy the country has to save ourselves is to impeach Bush and Cheney. The sooner the Congress gets started, the sooner the country can be restored to some sort of equilibrium. Hand wringing, emailing and public lamenting will not stop this crowd; impeachment will. If the Democrats fail to exercise real leadership now, in the hope that Bush will hang himself, we will be in double jeapordy. Bush has already hung himself and the rest of us are going to swing too if something is not done; soon.

Carole Cameron Shaw

Bravo, Greg [Mitchell], for a courageous editorial.

For five long years it has been apparent that the emperor wears no clothes, but the observation has only belatedly become conventional wisdom. Ultimately, I believe it is the all-too-visible damage to our economy and future prospects that has turned the national mood. So much more needs to be done. That’s where you and other opinion leaders can demonstrate true leadership.

[Mitchell’s] column today is a case in point.

Yes, 33 more months of the status quo is utterly unthinkable. Yet, while a Democratic majority in either house would offer subpoena powers to enable vigorous prosecutions of misconduct and wrongdoing by administration officials, we would have a government in disarray and crisis until 2009 ?- a troubling prospect given the serious challenges we face from terrorism, energy supplies, and the domestic economy. Impeachment might lead to Bush and Cheney being forcibly ejected from office, but since the line of succession would only give us another neocon Commander in Chief taking the reigns of an embattled administration, the net effect is the same as the first option above.

It’s gonna be a rough 3 years.

John Smith
Jacksonville, Fla.

“But my point here is simply to start the discussion, and urge that the media, first, recognize that the crisis?or, if you want to say, impending crisis — exists, and begin to explore the ways to confront it.

Perhaps one reason most media, particularly newspapers, haven’t confronted the crisis is because almost every one supported the invasion.

Brad Bradberry

The way to begin to “confront the crisis” (which actually began from the moment “W” appropriated the presidency) is to follow the advice of Carl Bernstein. At last, a sane voice in this crazy world!

Judith Feldman
New York, N.Y.

First, I want to thank [Greg Mitchell] for [his] clear-headed thinking and excellent writing; I read it all. If you haven’t taken a look at Justin Frank’s book, Bush on the Couch, I suggest you do. Although it’s a long-distance analysis of Bush’s mental health, it offers plenty of food for thought — Bush is a sick guy, basically. How does the media address this important fact? We’ve got a sociopath in the White House. Who can say it — and get away with it? If Bush were a family member, you’d avoid him at every get-together; you’d snicker about him to your Aunt Lulu; but he’s holding on to the world’s most powerful position. He’s more than the stuff of a good laugh on The Daily Show. He’s truly scary. Now with Iran on the agenda, I fear for our country. He’s setting the course for our downfall; there’s no doubt about it. Are we going to ride along with him? Are there enough people who can speak out and stop him? Can media outlets come together in a comprehensive, united statement against the Bush Administration’s aggressive policy on Iran? Yes, 33 more months of this nightmare … I don’t believe we will survive him.

Susan L. Fenton

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