FRIDAY’S LETTERS: Why So Much Coulter on E&P?, Mitchell and Lebanon, Richmond Publisher’s ‘Gag Order’

By: E&P Staff

In today’s letters, readers thank Greg Mitchell for his column on coverage of the Lebanon conflict others call it “narrowly focused,” a reader wonders why E&P is so focused on Ann Coulter, and a writer addresses Richmond publisher Tom Silvestri’s “gag order.”


On Mitchell and Lebanon

As the bureau chief of a news agency that helps reporters cover both Israel and Lebanon, I am surprised that [Greg Mitchell neglects] to mention that the Hezbullah organization has stationed its troops in bunkers throughout civilian areas in Beirut, forcing Israel to bomb civilian areas in order to bomb Hezbullah. At a time when Hezbullah is bombing more than forty Israeli cities and towns — Israel does not place its army in these cities and towns — your moral indignation seems to be rather narrowly focused.

David Bedein
Bureau Chief
Israel Resource News Agency
Beit Agron International Press Center
Jerusalem, Israel

If Hezbollah did not embed themselves in civilian areas and use civilians as shields, there would be no killling of civilians by Israel. Israel is only intent on defeating Hezbollah, as opposed to Hezbollah’s direct targeting of civilians. Should Israel just surrender because it does not want to kill civilians?

Jerry Leavitt

I don’t doubt you’ll get flamed for your piece on media bias in the coverage of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in the U.S. For whatever it’s worth, thank you for your efforts. It’s surprisingly difficult to get accurate news in the U.S. on anything related to Israel. It’s a blessing that many international papers now have English versions for key stories.

Jan Haus

Perhaps the reason no one is criticizing Israel about its retaliation against Lebanon is because missiles and homicide/suicide bombings that have been going on in Israel NON-STOP, and Israel has been very reticent to retaliate on any grand scale.

The unprovoked bombing of innocent civilians and major cities in Israel and the killing and kidnapping of Israeli soldiers in ISRAELI TERRITORY is just another, and perhaps final, straw. The U.S. did not hesitate to take its “War on Terrorism” anywhere it deemed fit (the war in Iraq where so many of our young people have been killed and maimed, and so very many “innocent” Iraqis have been killed and maimed) after 9/11. Israel experiences at least one 9/11 on an almost daily basis. Why don’t you condemn the terrorists for their brutal killing of innocents and show the pictures of the Israeli and Jewish dead and bombed out cities?

Linda Sue Rosefsky

So glad to see someone saying this. I’ve been dismayed at the reactions I’ve seen in most of the American media. CNN is at least showing some of the carnage and airing reports that stress the suffering of the Lebanese civilians — and pointing out the fact that Lebanon is blameless for the original incursion into Israel because it cannot control Hezbollah. So the little people in the Middle East suffer yet again and grow to hate the USA even more …

America can stop this horror whenever it decides to apply the brakes to Israel. The administration probably considers the new subject of the headlines a welcome distraction from the focus on Iraq …

I’m thankful to live in Canada — a very dull country …

Carole Walker


On Richmond Paper’s ‘Gag Order’

Publisher Tom Silvestri defends his gag order, or whatever euphemism he prefers for it, on the grounds that it is no different from the “rules of communication” at other companies. Mr. Silvestri fails to understand that his business is different from other companies. He is in the business of informing. His employees are supposedly paid to find and to tell the truth, and by gagging them on any subject, he runs counter both to their instincts and the supposed mission of his business. He also does a disservice to that business, presenting it as possibly having something to hide. Mr. Silvestri finds it “puzzling” to have to discuss this “with all that is going on in our industry,” such as planning “the business model of the future.” He doesn’t understand that the rift with his reporters occurs at the foundation of the industry — the balance between editorial and advertising. Mr. Silvestri has gone overboard on the side of advertising; shame on Times-Dispatch editors for not supporting their reporters.

Randall Patterson


Why So Much Coulter?

Why is it that Ann Coulter appears every day on your website, under “headlines?”

I realize that she is outrageous, and a celebrity, but does that justify your giving her the coverage you do?

As Bob & Ray used to say, a dead whale on a flatbed draws a big crowd, but it still stinks!

Jerry Kleiner

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