WEDNESDAY’S LETTERS: Dissenting on Iraq, Praise for ‘Braditorial’

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By: E&P Staff

In today’s letters, readers continue to sound off about Greg Mitchell’s column on Richard Cohen, as well as America’s ongoing operations in the Middle East.


‘Shameful, Shabby, Sad’

Do you recall how [Chris] Hedges was treated when he tried to give the commencement speech at Rockford College? He was driven off the stage. People simply would not tolerate the idea that someone was saying something less than laudatory about the invasion of Iraq. I believe many Americans cannot, do not want to, accept the fact that we are responsible for this terrible thing, that we are killing thousands of Iraqis for no real reason at all, just because we can because we have the most powerful army.

The way this country responded to the attacks on September 11, 2001 was wrong. But for most people, it sure felt good and they really resent the way it’s all gone sour so quickly. Let someone be brave enough to stand up and say some truth and these folks are full of fury and righteous hatred. Shameful. Shabby. Sad.

D. Schultz


In Praise of the Braditorial

I found Brad Friedman’s blog on November 3rd, 2004. I have logged on nearly every day since then for brilliantly written, timely, succinct, and principled coverage of electoral process, corruption, and media issues.

I agree that the “Braditorial” you published deserves wide distribution
and thank you for sharing it with your audience. Nothing is more important to our democracy right now than mending the broken and chaotic state of our news media.

May I suggest that you continue to keep this issue front and center in
your coverage? Brad might be persuaded to do a regular feature for you?

Katherine Anne Stansbury
Portland, Oregon


Not Everyone Was Fooled Before the Iraq War

My husband and I have been wondering at all the blatherers who now say that we were “fooled” into attacking Iraq, that we all somehow bought a bad storyline, hook and sinker. Because many of us did not support this attack and knew that Bush was lying to the country. How did we know? Well, some of us accessed the UNSCOM reports and read through them; pretty convincing stuff. Some of us listened to Hans Blix and El Baradei. Knowledgeable men who had the advantage of actually being on the ground and knowing the science of nuclear and chemical weaponry. Some of us know from personal experience just how a satellite picture can be misused in the hands of a manipulator. Some of us know how a liar can make a tape say just about anything you want it to. Or need it to.

And many of us knew that George W. Bush was, fundamentally and profoundly, untrustworthy. His history of self-excusing, misstatement, and skating just that little bit over the line whenever such maneuvering became expedient for him personally made us know that this was a man who would not be bothered by facts and reality if these were not supportive of his personal desires. We also knew he is a man who has no compunction about abusing the power of his position to make others do his bidding, even though he pretends that this is simply asking them to “respect” the presidency.

I still find it amazing that so many people believed this man and his cohort. Clearly, people are too easily misled and once lied to, they have a great deal of trouble accepting their mistake. The current run-up to Iran is evidence of just how easily people are misled, even by someone who has misled them so terribly only three years ago. Iran does not possess nuclear weapons and there is no likelihood of them building any anytime soon. Nevertheless, this administration has successfully scared the media and too many citizens into thinking “something must be done about Iran.”

Deb Schultz


Do E&P Readers Lean Left?

The three letters French-kissing Greg Mitchell for his column on Richard Cohen say more about the liberal construct of E&P’s readers than the flip-flop of Cohen.



Cohen’s Not Duplicitous

While he may not have done so in the column you referred to, [Richard] Cohen has at other times, acknowledged having supported the Iraq War and has expressed regret about the position he took. He may have been wrong, but I don’t think he’s duplicitous.

Paul Rosenbaum


Perspective Is What’s Missing

It is a treat to read [Greg Mitchell’s] perceptive writing. I’ve been a journalist for 22 years, and, in my opinion, what is missing more than anything is perspective. Most anyone can write a set of facts or a he-said-she-said article, but the hard part is to put the facts in proper perspective. I think that is what separates good and mediocre journalists because I think sources recognize such writing.

I read an article by Chris Hedges in the NY Times Sunday Magazine a couple of years ago, and I was so touched, I cut it out and put it in my Bible. All of the pseudo-Christians who bang the drum for war should be forced to read what he says.

Paul Fiorilla
Hoboken, NJ


A Call to Break Up Newspaper Conglomerates

In regards to the article about the newspaper malaise, I can only say the following:

How can newspaper executives actually be wondering why they are in a newspaper malaise and in trouble with readership? Well, how about breaking all the conglomerates of one company ownership of too many newspapers? What do we have? Seven different conglomerate owners of all newspapers?

Here in CT, our Hartford Courant is owned by the Tribune. Now what the heck does Chicago know about what is going on in Connecticut along with The WashPost in DC (editor’s note: The Washington Post is not owned by Tribune), the Los Angeles Times in California and other locations where The Tribune owns newspapers?

Let Connecticut people own The Courant and do it’s reporting. Likewise in California with the LA Times, etc!

It’s not just newspapers. How many truly different owners are there in television news, radio stations and magazines?

More owners equals more different coverage equals more readership, viewership or listeners.

Why do you think the readership of non-major newspaper and non-TV news websites is doing so well?

People want different opinions and different ways of reporting the news, not just the same story repeated from one person at one major newspaper or company, across the country.

Tom Wieliczka
Windsor Locks, CT


Haven’t We Learned From Iraq?

Thank you for printing Greg Mitchell’s critique of Richard Cohen. Mitchell may be wrong about one thing. It was no mea culpa by Cohen for his and his paper’s editorial support for the war in Iraq. That would suggest that some learning has gone on. The WaPo’s editorial line, as I see it, says quite the opposite — that paper has learned nothing from Iraq, and is ready to charge into Iran.

Richard Cohen’s column on the folly of Iraq last Thursday betrays one fact about Cohen, the WaPo, and the threatened war with Iran. There’s no learning that’s gone on here from our lost war in Iraq. It’s merely an attempt, way after it would have made any difference, to cut polemical losses. Richard Cohen, like the rest of the WaPo crew, is still in full-cry to shift the war to the Eastern Front. Their meme is, well, Iran is different. You’d better believe it is, Richard. It’s Iraq times ten, at least.

Mark G. Levey
Washington, D.C.


Newspapers Need to Think More Locally

I was very interested in [Greg Mitchell’s] comments about AP?s annual meeting. As a former newspaper reporter for Gannett Westchester Newspapers (The Herald Statesman, Yonkers, NY); I?ve watched the demographic trends that are blamed with eroding newspaper circulation but much of the damage appears to be self inflicted. Few print and broadcast media outlets do public relations well. They typically assign Public relations functions to their human resources or marketing department and give little thought to the connection between Public Relations and Circulation.

Newspaper credibility is gained and maintained when readers understand that the people who produce have a vested interest in the communities they cover. Ads are not the reason people read newspapers. Yet, newspapers do little to promote the professionalism of their own reporters and editors; their civic involvement; and the quality of their work and how it brings about positive changes. Most major companies recognize the need to protect their own brand equity. I doubt that many newspaper reporters understand what that means.

Gregg Laskoski
Tampa, FL

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