WEDNESDAY’S LETTERS: Bill Bennett Either Outrageous or Right On

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By: E&P Staff

In today’s letters, some readers think Bill Bennett is right in his characterization of several Pulitzer Prize winners as being “worthy of jail,” others think Bennett’s totally wrong. Also, one reader writes that Al Qaeda has a press committee.


Bill Bennett’s Either Totally Right or Totally Wrong

Bill Bennett’s bellowing that Pulitzer winners published material “against the wishes of the president, against the request of the president and others” seems to be a revived attempt by a rightwing foot soldier to set a new standard for the First Amendment.

Get the president’s permission – or maybe Karl Rove’s — before reporting government machinations that infringe on citizens constitutional rights and are done in violation of the law (i.e., requiring warrants for eavesdropping).

Those of us who’ve spent some of our early reporting days in small towns have run across the Bennett mentality before – the small town sheriff or senior judge or school board chairman who believe reporters must get permission to publish public records, lest stories “offend” the public.

Bennett’s fantasy that the war on terror has been damaged is as credible as claims from the Bush spin machine about WMDs, Niger uranium, Iraq oil paying for the war, and insurgents are in their “last throes.”

Given his revulsion for “media,” one wonders why Bennett suckles at CNN as a commentator.

Pat Murphy
Ketchum, Idaho

I have thought the Pulitzer Prize Awards and the Nobel Peace Prize were TOTALLY WORTHLESS FOR YEARS! I fully agree with Bill Bennett! Press people today are INFERIORS who spew their political opinions and agendas which are so biased, they are meaningless!

Kathleen DiCenso
Scottsdale, Az.

Unfortunately, Mr. Bennett speaks only for the President and NOT for the American people. He should perhaps remember that the president serves us… and not the other way around. These writers deserve the praise they are getting for showing the American people and the world the dirty secrets of our current administration and the willful derelict of duty that they a presently working in the shadows. I believe that the President, for purposely lying to the people whom he serves … deserves jail time. He has become the worst president in history. His administration works on half-truth and has lost all the gains that the U.S. has made in previous years. He has also polarized America in recent years and needs to step down for the good of the country.

Mr. Bennett is a moron for not standing up for the people of the U.S. These articles have not hurt the U.S., but have damaged the president in the truths they have told. There is a difference.

Dennis J. Peterson

As a journalist myself, I agree with William Bennett that the efforts by Dana Priest of The Washington Post, who wrote about the CIA’s “secret prisons” in Europe, and James Risen and Eric Lichtblau of The New York Times, who exposed the National Security Agency’s domestic (a.k.a. terrorist) spy program are worthy of criminal offenses. While the media have the right, perhaps, to publish what they uncover, likewise they must face the consequences of their choices. The so-called good journalists perform is often akin to self-promotion of career over the proper deliberation of the complexities and responsibilities to higher standards — safety to a nation. Priest, Risen and Lichtblau were selfish to the detriment of necessary policy that have been already deemed legal activities by government in the past. Their politics and desire to harm a presidency with publicity fallout also seemed to have guided their decision-making. Way down on the totem pole were the first glimpses of pretension to altruism. Bennett’s got it right. That’s why he served in government and that’s why journalism choose their professions and distort the news or disclose what should not be. And that’s why the public abhors journalists.

Matt Brager

Will someone please remind these gentlemen that publishing secret government information against the wishes of a sitting president was exactly what the Washington Post did with a number of stories by two young reporters named Woodward and Bernstein some decades back? They may recall the results. I would also note: it was not the reporters who went to jail. Speaking truth to power is seldom popular with friends of the powerful.

Ellen O’Brien


Osama Evidently Has His Own Karl Rove

Is it news to you folks that Al Qaeda has a media committee to influence the press?

Gil Bates

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