WEDNESDAY’S LETTERS: ‘Newsday’ Staffers’ Protest, Iraq ‘Mistake’

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By: E&P Staff

In today’s letters, a reader decries the lack of investigative news in Newsday, and two readers react to Greg Mitchell’s article on the Iraq War.


‘Newsday’ Protest Letter Applauded

It was with great interest that I read your story, “More Than 100 at ‘Newsday’ Sign Protest Letter To Tribune Chair.” So much interest, in fact, that I felt the need to write to tell you about another side of the story: The public’s side.

I applaud Newsday staffers for putting together a memo that accurately reflects their current situation. More than that, I admire their courage to do so, especially after what transpired at Newsday’s sister paper, the Los Angeles Times. The changes cited in the memo — less staff, budget constraints, more wire copy — have not gone unnoticed by the public. Quite the opposite.

Not a day goes by when I don’t deal with a member of Long Island’s 2.7 million community who wants to know how our region can remain vibrant and competitive when our sole daily newspaper has been shaken to its core. Interestingly, the public here is willing to give Newsday a second chance, despite its dubious claim to being home to the largest scandal in newspaper history.

What the public here has lost patience with is stories that have no relevancy to their lives. One of Newsday’s hallmarks had long been the investigative pieces that served the public interest. Those pieces, being expensive and requiring skilled talent and lots of it, are seldom done now. In their place we have tales of Britney, Brangelina and other AP Wire fodder. Local news is reduced to transactional reports of companies changing names and the fate of one “cold-stunned” sea turtle.

I have nothing against sea turtles, but this is a community with important stories that need to be told. Those stories take time and research, and staff with experience and acquired knowledge of the area. The public here isn’t quite sure why they’re reading about sea turtles and other such stories, but we do. We know the corporate mindset to increase profits and decrease expense has been done, as in Newsday’s case, to the detriment of the product. What a newspaper product really is has absolutely nothing to do with newsprint, nor its price. What a newspaper is about is its people, and the information those people carry in their heads. It takes skill to gather information; but skill takes money. Skill is what makes it possible for a newspaper to be the first thing Long Islanders see in the morning. Not because they want to, but because they need to.

Long Island’s geography makes 2.7 million residents a captive audience. Newsday, as the only daily to service this area, has an incredible responsibility to protect this public’s interest. Yet its hands are tied. Perhaps its corporate masters don’t care what they pay in taxes, or where that money goes. But Newsday’s readers do. They have grown weary of reading a newspaper with no answers. Inside Tribune’s Chicago headquarters, they see Newsday’s profitability. Here, on Long Island, businesses that have long advertised in Newsday are questioning their return on investment. Let’s not forget the part of the equation that advertisers are readers, too.

Perhaps that will get someone’s attention.

Jaci Clement
Executive Director
Fair Media Council


Dying for a ‘Mistake’

A nice article. But I take issue with one part: Bush’s war is anything but a mistake. It’s certainly a disaster for Iraq. It’s certainly a disaster for the US. It’s certainly a disaster for the entire world. But it’s going entirely as planned and is anything but a disaster for those who are behind it.

True, Iraqi civilians are dying like flies, but their lives are held in the same esteem as flies by the Bush administration, so no mistake there. True, US soldiers are dying in great numbers too, but with the economy trashed what other jobs are open to the masses? The important thing is that Halliburton and Bechtel get no-bid contracts and the oil that is pumped up is largely unaccounted for. For the Bush adminstration everything is going just fine and no mistake was made.

So the question really is, who is going to be the last soldier to die for the greed of the Bush Family Evil Empire.

Brian de Ford

What is so amazing is that all of the nations’ leaders can not seem to have open discussions about their political differences without the killing of innocent people. Troops are dying for what? And innocent families. Not to mention the troops that are fortunate to come home having to try to adjust to some sense of normalcy with the little support they receive from the government.

The war has been going on so long that if you ask most people what is the war all about, most would say they don’t know. To most, it is power egos for political leaders, at the cost of lost lives, destruction and hurting families. I do not know much about politics, one thing is for sure, this madness is out of control.

Cherra Lee

Oh, woe is me! The last soldier to die for a mistake. That statement is so pathetic, like a bad round of bowling. Do you think this Iraq war is a mistake? Where will the last soldier die? Will there be a place? Can we just wrap it all up, call it a game and go home? Will our opponents follow us home to heckle us at the front door? Is Islamism such a superior system that the West is beaten? Apparently it is if you think so. It’s really going to get hot in the second half when Iran blows off its bomb. Then what are we going to do, Mr. Smarty-pants? Lament about a stupid mistake?

Duncan MacLachlan

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