TUESDAY'S LETTERS: 'NY Times' and the WHCA, Broder, Tenet

By: E&P Staff In today's letters, readers react to the New York Times' decision to no longer attend the WHCA dinner, thoughts on David Broder's rebuke from the Senate, and George Tenet's 60 Minutes interview.


'NY Times' and the WCHA Dinner

I've always been a fan of Frank Rich's smart and insightful writing, and, as a staunch First Amendment advocate, fully respect his constitutional right to free expression and association.

I just wonder how in this instance though, he feels "strongly that the Times has to stay clear of things that are potential conflicts of interest," yet didn't seem too concerned that frequent appearances by him or Maureen Dowd on the Don Imus show might well inflict damage to the brand that is The New York Times. It's not as if the remark that resulted in his firing was the first, well-publicized instant of Don Imus' racism (or misogyny, xenophobia or homophobia).

Rich told E&P that he doesn't "feel that reporters should be used in presidential publicity stunts." They shouldn't be used to lend credibility to the broadcasts of shock jocks masquerading under the guise of news programming either.

Clinton Fein

The New York Times is right. The White House Correspondents Association's annual dinner has lost much of its luster. But how can the Gray Lady argue that its an infantile pastime when it affords Karl Rove the opportunity to sit at the same table as Maureen Dowd and delight, perhaps, in her discomfiture or even prove his manhood. The yearly event may have become a bit of a freak show, but for the Times, with its involvement in scandals of the recent past, to sniff that it's below the dignity of the newspaper to attend is simply ridiculous.

Wes Pedersen
Chevy Chase, Md.

What possible public good could come from the media elite noshing and sloshing with the political elite? Journalists shouldn't delude themselves by thinking that any administration admires the media for truth telling or afflicting the comfortable (Job 1 and Job 2). Politicians want to use journalists for their own ends. We can't let them or they won't respect us in the morning.

If getting access means having to clap for Karl Rove "dancing," I'd rather do without access. Stephen Colbert's speech last year will ring true and live with me forever, like Lloyd Bentsen's zinger to Dan Quayle in another era.

Bill Dunn
Middleton, Wis.

Finally, someone is getting the picture. I don't believe it is good when reporters and policitians mix at dinner together. I have written others before about this issue. Even if you're only eating dinner, it doesn't show well. Since when are reporters stars? I hope other papers and media outlets take your brave stand. Every time I have seen the event on PBS all I see is how this administration played the media and the media fell right in line.

Anna Millraney


No Sympathy for Axed Newsies

I read the numerous outraged letters and articles about newspapers cutting newsroom staffs. Well too bad. Newspapers have traditionally cut staff in production when the market was in a slump but where was the outrage then? Now papers are offshoring production jobs but still no outrage from our brethren in the newsroom. In my career composing rooms have dropped from hundreds to tens of employees as new technology did things better, stronger, faster. It is hard for me to cry for my editorial friends.

Ed Post


Senate's Rebuke of Broder

It shouldn't surprise any of us that the Democratic Party Senators "spontaneously" wrote a letter to David Broder attacking his column which had attacked the duplicitous and anti-military statements of Senator Reid. After all, the Democratic Party has for many years rightly regarded the press as its servant and its mouthpiece, and is understandably displeased that one of its minions has been so brash as to speak out of turn and attack the disgusting and anti-American activities of his masters.

I hope Mr. Broder keeps up the good work, just as I hope the Democratic Party continues to offend and disgust the American public with its actions. Between Harry Reid declaring our defeat and Nancy Pelosi blundering around the Mideast in a headscarf, the Democrats are looking like fools and wimps on national security, and Mr. Broder is right to point this out.

Charlotte E. Hemker-Smith
Sacramento, Calif.


Tenet Epitomizes Bushies

George Tenet's 60 Minutes interview revealed a self-serving, whining incompetent. This seems to be par for this administration.

Jerry Fankhauser
Hebron, Ind.


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