- The Washington Times - Friday, May 19, 2000

Readers agree with editor in chief's response to The Post


I thought Editor in Chief Wesley Pruden's response to The Washington Post's libelous statement that UPI's new owner, News World Communications, "is controlled by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church and the conservative voice behind the [Washington] Times's editorials" was exactly on the mark until I got to his last sentence: "I cannot imagine why The Post printed such a lie." ("Response to a lie," Editorial, May 17). Really? I can easily imagine why The Post printed such a lie. To wit:
* To discredit the most consistently thoughtful conservative voice in town.
* To tie UPI and The Washington Times together as part of some conservative cabal.
* As a backhanded attempt to slow The Times' growing circulation numbers.
* To insult and irritate The Times' editorial staff.
* To help The Post's readers understand what their opinion of the news should be.
* To reinforce the common liberal opinion that religious faith and conservatism are "twin evils."
I think I understand the spirit in which Mr. Pruden offered that last remark, but wasn't he being just a bit disingenuous?
JAMES TYSON
Fairfax

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When I entered school as a young journalism student intent on changing the world, or at least not making any grammatical mistakes, I entered with the idea that balance, fairness and accuracy were a creed, not inconvenient goals to shoot for on occasion.
I read Wesley Pruden's response blasting The Washington Post for citing The Times' ownership by a religious organization as contributing to "the conservative voice behind the Times's editorials."
I applaud Mr. Pruden for confronting The Post's blatantly unobservant and opinionated attack on The Times' editorials, which, if anything, lend a balancing blend of reason to The Post's stodgy opinion makers.
I guess journalism and below-the-belt pugilism have become the order of the day with The Post.
LIBERTY HODGES
New Orleans

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My own conservative credentials are not in doubt, so I think I can be forgiven when I note that methinks Wesley Pruden, editor in chief of The Times, doth protest too much. The owner of a newspaper does not have to vet every article or editorial. Vetting the hiring of editors is sufficient.
If the owner hires only those whose political views are similar to his, they will make editorial decisions very similar to the ones he would have made. This is why The Times' line is conservative and why The Washington Post's line is liberal-leftish. If the editor gets too much out of line ideologically, he or she won't last.
I suspect Mr. Pruden knows all of the above very well. His protest is, therefore, a bit overloud.
AVNER MANDLEMAN
Toronto

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Even though I don't share many of your editorial viewpoints, I wish to commend Editor in Chief Wesley Pruden's thoughtful, restrained letter to your cross-town rival. I seek out The Washington Times' opinions in part because I abhor the monopolistic trend in newspaper publishing that has resulted in an undeserved and disproportionate influence of a lone editorial page in a major city.
That The Post reporter who wrote the story about the purchase of UPI appears not to have done sufficient homework on a straightforward article shows that other news outlets are needed in the nation's capital, although my guess is that The Post's editorial team wishes The Times would just go away.
ALAN BLUM
Tuscaloosa, Ala.

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Until I picked up my Washington Times, I had only the Richmond Times-Dispatch for reference. Thank you once again for delivering the truth to me. It is ever more evident that there is an attempt by the popular mass media to mold American opinion rather than provide pure news and information.
I was warned in the mid-1950s as a U.S. serviceman that there were forces allied against the United States that would use such tactics to destroy the moral and ethical fiber of our society and that their plan would not require a shot to be fired to attain victory.
Please continue your efforts with fervor and integrity, to the benefit of the people.
WALTER R. ANDERSON
Richmond

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I was pleased to read your letter to The Washington Post defending the integrity of The Washington Times. I must say, however, it's not necessarily a foregone conclusion that The Post reporter was attempting to plant a deliberate lie to mislead Post readers.
Perhaps, having never read The Washington Times, the reporter is ignorant of how the print media are supposed to work in the United States. Being more familiar with the policies of The Post, perhaps the reporter naturally assumed the media are supposed to serve as political sycophants and reporters as shills.
LOIS ROTH FRISSELL
New York

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I can imagine The Washington Post telling lies. The Post does it all the time, especially when it comes to the current administration. Unfortunately, a vast percentage of the American public lets The Post get away with it.
During the 1996 presidential campaign, Bob Dole wanted to know, "Where is the outrage?" I want to know, where is the accountability? It is certainly not at The Post or at many other newspapers and news outlets around today.
Thanks to The Times for being in the business and for pointing out the lies told by the administration and related as truth by its media shills.
MIKE SHRIGLEY
Columbia, S.C.

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Bravo Wesley Pruden, editor in chief of The Times, for his response to the outrageous statements in The Washington Post regarding editorial control of your paper.
I was dumbfounded when I read what The Post had printed. It's hard to think of many papers that demonstrate the level of editorial independence that The Times brings to us every day. I want you to know that I sent The Post a vociferous objection to such lies.
I also want Mr. Pruden to know that I get enormous pleasure and satisfaction from his columns, too. I hungrily welcome such all-too-rare examples of sane and intelligent thinking.
MARGARET BINKLEY
Port Deposit, Md.

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I have been a reader of The Washington Times nearly since its birth, and I have never seen any articles favoring Unification Church activities. I find your editorial policies entirely to my liking, which contrasts greatly with The Washington Post, in which every news article becomes an editorial.
Some months ago on the quiz show "Jeopardy," an answer was, "Founded in 1877 as the political arm of the Democratic Party." The corresponding question was, "What is The Washington Post?" It has surely run true to its founders' intentions.
FRANK LAMBERT
Waterford, Va.

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As a loyal reader of The Washington Times, I thank Wesley Pruden, editor in chief, for the clarification to the May 16 article in The Washington Post on the UPI sale. Thank you, Mr. Pruden, for standing up to The Post's attempt to misrepresent a story. We need more people like you. You stood up for yourself and your constituents and for the basics of principle.
Mr. Pruden's clarification kept a loyal reader. Without it, I am not sure I would have remained so.
M. MAUREEN WENNER
Minneapolis

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