THURSDAY’S LETTERS: Thoughts on KR’s Chertoff ‘Scoop,’ Bush’s Bathroom Break Photo and More

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By: E&P Staff

Today’s letters look at recent news on Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff, The New York Times and Washington Post swapping front pages every night before going to press, and a new photo of President Bush at the UN seemingly asking for a “bathroom break.”


Just read and enjoyed your E&P story regarding how the Post and the Times share their front pages.?It brought back some memories.

I was a copy aide in the mid 1970s at the Post, and one of my last assignments for the evening, when working a 3pm to 11pm shift, was to take in a special transmission from AP photos in New York; a photo of the next day’s Times front page.?8 X 11 was not the easiest format to read, but usually just about everything was readable except photo credit lines. I believe it was done that way, every day, for many years.

In the 1980s, while working at ABC News in both Washington and New York, couriers were dispatched to retrieve copies. In D.C., the offices are just a few blocks apart, and frequently it was easier to buy one from somebody selling single copies from in front of if the Mayflower Hotel.?In New York, an ABC News courier was dispatched to the Times and stopped at the bureau first and then went to drop off a copy at Roone Arledge’s apartment.

Bill Hensel
Director, Media Relations
Atlanta, Ga.


Re: Reuters Photog Captures Bush at U.N. With ‘Bathroom Break’ Note

Are you kidding me? So now we all know that either President Bush or our Secretary of State — or perhaps even one of their staff members nearby — actually have to use the bathroom once in a while. And some so-called professional photographer takes this photo and Reuters distributes it? And you write on this? You ought to all be ashamed of yourselves for this stupid trivia and childish focus.

It is this kind of childish focus and “gotcha” journalism-so-called that is leading the “grownups” of our country to other media sources — even as the readership for the old-line media diminishes dramatically.


G. van den Bosch
Fountain Hills, Arizona


The fact that this is a story in the national press is just another example of how pathetic the press in this country has become. And you wonder why a large number of people in this country consider most journalists in this day and age to be comparable to bottom-feeding ambulance chasers and used car salesman?

If you spent as much time on self evaluation as you do on printing irrelevant crap, just maybe you could convince us that journalism is a profession that has some form of integrity and ethics.

Ron Smith


Many of us did not need the piece today on your website regarding the NYT and WP exchanging headlines. We figured that one out long ago. Proof now well established by the guilty parties that, as Rush and others have noted for so long, the pillars of the establishment media are virtually identical.

We wait now only for confirmation that the LAT and/or the Atlanta Urinal and Constipation are also part of the arrangement, in one form or another.

We’re certain that Time and Newsweek are also quite cozy with each other.

So, what else is new?

cc: Mr. Limbaugh

Duane Lamers
Troy, Michigan

Ed’s Note: Just a reminder that fans of Rush Limbaugh once referred to themselves as “dittoheads.”


Re: Washington Post/New York Times Page One Swaps

The relationship goes right to the heart of an open display of media arrogance and irresponsibility.

Now, they don’t check their sources, put opinions in news headlines and use a previously unknown dialect of the English language to try to explain themselves. I read all of them as they took President Bush’s statement that he “took responsibility” and translate it to “Bush takes blame…” and so on and so forth. Is this what they teach in journalism school these days? These two are becoming irrelevant, just like the Boston Globe, San Jose Mercury-News, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and San Francisco Chronicle.

It’s no wonder their combined readership is suffering, and their positions in the media industry are slipping like fresh, wet snow on a steep hillside.

Emperors who sit on the thrones that they have built for themselves can only fall. And these once proud institutions have fallen and the pace of decline is swiftening. As I tell my closest friends, it couldn’t happen to ones more deserving.

Bill Ferguson
Reno, Nev.


What an eye-opening story. Businesses that attempt to control or fix pricing, markets, etc. would be in violation of the Anti Trust Laws. This article seems to portray this as courtesy and good business. It appears to be a sham, short changes the readers, and assures that two major news markets get a one-sided view. What a shame, I am sure Benjamin Franklin would be proud of them.

Scott W. Hadley
Manager Leasing & Marketing
Pinellas Corporation
Raleigh, N.C.

Re: KR ‘Scoop’ on Chertoff’s Responsibility

If the media had been paying attention to what Homeland Security has actually been doing, this wouldn’t be a ‘scoop.’ The National Response Plan was announced in December 2004 and went into effect in April 2005. The KR story isn’t great journalism about Katrina, it’s a revelation of inept journalism before Katrina.

Louise Kosta


Re: Reuters Photog Captures Bush at U.N. With ‘Bathroom Break’ Note

I hope someone will explain to me Wilking’s point in publishing the president’s note about a bathroom break he may need to take. My first impression is that Wilking published the note for the liberal press and comedians who like to make fun of the President of the United States. Or my cynical brain tells me he wants to make George W. Bush look unconcerned or stupid. What do you think about a photographer making photos of a personal note like this?

Patsy Robertson
Atlanta, Ga.

Ed’s Note: Before anyone questions the intentions of a veteran photojournalist like Rick Wilking, read this story about his recent work in New Orleans.

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