FRIDAY’S LETTERS: On DeLay Coverage, Reader Calls Austin Paper ‘Un-American’

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By: E&P Staff

Today’s letters look at the recent indictment against former Majority Leader Tom DeLay and coverage of the case by the Austin American Statesman, plus a critique of Paul Krugman.

Austin Un-American Statesman

The Austin American Statesman is known to be left of center and its editorial page certainly unsympathetic to Republicans. Of course, it is also reflective of the politics of Travis County. What is missing from its coverage and editorial pages is any semblance of fairness. To wit: The Grand Jury process is subject to abuse, since there is no defense allowed nor is the 5th Amendment applicable if one answers even one question beyond that of identifying ones self. Secondly, the underlying alleged violations are civil in nature and not criminal. It is rare that civil violations rise to criminal conspiracy even if a conspiracy to circumvent the laws come into play. Jim Wright would have been charged with at least two felonies for his violations: perjury and conspiracy.

Considering Mr. Earle’s Grand Jury leaks and his use of Grand Jury proceedings, the press should be a little more skeptical at the indictments. Recent events suggest that Federal Prosecutors are more professional in their application of jurisprudence. Hilary Clinton would be subject to similar charges for such violations that were far more serious than those alleged by Mr. Earle.

What I find most egregious though is the lack of the word ?allegation? in much if any of the coverage by major newspapers. Mr. DeLay is considered guilty on the mere indictment that smacks of political opportunism. So far, the journalism profession seems to be bent on bringing down Tom DeLay, rather than presenting a fair and balanced view of events.

Perhaps he is guilty of a crime, but trying him in the press is antithetical to good journalism and most certainly there is a bias showing. I have yet to see much news about Jim McDermott’s trial anywhere in any mainstream newspaper. He stands accused of violating a law he helped to craft.

H. Michael Sarkisian
Sacramento, Calif.

Ed’s Note: For an interesting look at what the DeLay indictment may mean for Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., and Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., chair of the House ethics committee, see this Seattle Times article.

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Ed’s Note: The following reader takes exception with the headline atop our letters column Wednesday. We want to assure all our faithful readers that any suggestion that Paul Krugman should be a political candidate was meant in pure jest. (We’d much rather see Maureen Dowd hold that office.)

Re: WEDNESDAY’S LETTERS: Imagining Dylan as President, With Krugman as Veep

Your editors may not have bad judgment in pushing Bob Dylan for President. But Paul Krugman as VP? I hope some grown-ups are around to reign in the impulse to use E&P as a high-school-level political soapbox masquerading as a press review. We already have the Columbia Journalism Review for that.

Krugman has been caught out more than once fudging and fiddling his statistics in order to feed red meat to his blue-state readers. Krugman has no factual credibility with anyone who doesn’t mechanically hate the Republicans, which can be discovered by listening a bit outside the MSM echo chamber. The ombudsman for Krugman’s own newspaper, Dan Okrent, in his farewell piece, wrote that he had become convinced Krugman uses statistics in a dishonest manner, and Okrent is a Democrat himself. In addition, for the open-minded, the National Review has a regular “Krugman Watch” column devoted to amused reporting on Krugman’s interesting relationship with facts and figures. Mickey Kaus’ blog at Slate has also had much fun in the past with the columnist’s borderline-fanatical fixation with slanting all economic news to the disadvantage of the Bush administration. Krugman’s past predictions on economics have not worn well, either, if you bother to look up his file and get past the vigorous, but not really first-rate abuse, and get to the evidence that is supposed to support his views. I guess he is on that long list of writers who get a free pass because of their political ideology. And I voted for Kerry last fall, I should probably add.

Mark Richard

PS: Another site reports several media worthies at a dinner put on by the Brady gun control organization. Would E&P let it pass without comment or even an item if Mike Wallace and others had attended an NRA dinner, and even written checks in support of the group? Just thought I’d ask.

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