WEDNESDAY’s LETTERS: Impeachment Talk, Reporter Kidnapped and Last Word on Coalmine ‘Miracle’

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By: Jay DeFoore

E&P’s Letters editor took a brief vacation earlier this week, he’s still catching up. Here are some of the letters, with more to come. If you care to comment on any of the recent issues addressed by E&P, send us an e-mail at letters@editorandpublisher.com.

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Jill Carroll Kidnapping

Are there any further reports concerning the alleged ‘kidnapped’ female American journalist in Iraq? Getting details or reports about this story are woefully missing in the old media action. What is the real story here? Am I woefully out of line here for even asking?

Don Nash

Ed’s Note: E&P has covered this unfortunate incident from a number of angles: “Protests in Baghdad Over Raid Linked to Kidnapping,” “President of Military Reporters Group Hits Blackout on Abduction,” “Paper ‘Surprised and Heartened’ Media Went Along with Blackout Request,” “Kidnapped U.S. Journalist: A ‘Lady of Arabia’,” and Greg Mitchell’s Pressing Issues column, “What I Did During the Blackout.”

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So the Christian Science Monitor is pleased that it convinced news organizations not to report the news? And would those organizations heed a similar request from a non-media entity (like, say, a defense contractor)? Don’t get me wrong — I have nothing but sympathy for the reporter, her family, her extended newsroom family, etc. But having served overseas as a producer for NBC News (many years ago), I raise the basic journalistic question — aren’t news outlets supposed to report what they know to the public? And if personal concerns are the standard for non-reportage in cases where the media feels a kinship with the victim, where does that stop? Or why isn’t it applied equally to folks journalists care less about? This may have been admirable in intent, but it is another piece of evidence to non-journalists that reporters consider themselves a sacred society of special entitlements.

David Page
Page Productions
Hamel, Minn.

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THAT WORD: Impeachment

Thank you for your recent article “Impeachment’ Talk, Pro and Con, Appears in Media at Last.” I really enjoyed it and hope that you will keep us posted on the calls for impeachment of George W. Bush throughout this New Year, since the newspapers of America are shying away from discussing it.

It’s sad that our American newspapers and other mainstream media are being so inconsistent in their calls (or lack of) for impeachment of George W. Bush. No wonder so few Americans trust the mainstream media.

Kerry Painter

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More on the Coalmine Disaster

I watched the coverage of the coalmine disaster on CNN. It was covered all day by some of their best reporters. As time dragged on, and none of what they were predicting happened (such as any time now a coal company executive will be coming for a press conference, or the rescue vehicles will be coming down this road), it became obvious to me that something was amiss. The reporters were so anxious to witness a “miracle,” all they did was interview relatives who knew nothing, and nobody in authority who might be able to say why there was no official news coming out. They forgot the first rule of a journalist — check your sources. Shame on them all, but particularly CNN who always wants to be first with the news. They wasted a whole day on a story that turned out to be no miracle but just another mine disaster with loss of human lives. It should have been covered, but not in the way it was.

Grace Ivey
Winnipeg, Canada

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