- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 18, 2004

Media bias

Diana West’s spot-on opinion (“Teacher’s pet,” Op-Ed, Friday) goes into my Web browser’s favorites file on journalism called “Betraying the public’s trust.” Sadly, it grows daily in volume.

The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press states, in part, in a May 23 survey report that “most national and local journalists, as well as a plurality of Americans (41 percent), describe themselves as political moderates. But news people, especially national journalists, are more liberal, and far less conservative, than the general public. About a third of national journalists (34 percent) and somewhat fewer local journalists (23 percent) describe themselves as liberals; that compares with 19 percent of the public in a May survey conducted by the Pew Research Center. Moreover, there is a relatively small number of conservatives at national and local news organizations. Just 7 percent of national news people and 12 percent of local journalists describe themselves as conservatives, compared with a third of all Americans.”

Appended to that survey is “Crisis of Confidence,” by Bill Kovach of the Committee of Concerned Journalists and Tom Rosenstiel and Amy Mitchell of the Project for Excellence in Journalism. They stated, in part, “The percentage of national journalists who have a great deal of confidence in the ability of the American public to make good decisions has declined by more than 20 points since 1999. Confidence among local journalists has fallen as well.”

Maybe someday those who pretend to be news outlets — with their masqueraders who call themselves reporters but are really advocates, opinionists and/or outright propagandists — actually will get a revelation about what reporting the news and investigative journalism mean.

Maybe, too, then they’ll have the sensibility to do both — that is, if they can stop looking down their collective noses at their readers and viewers, the ones who ultimately pay their salaries.

C. KENNA AMOS JR.

Princeton, W.Va.

No. 1, second to none?

In regard to “Valedictorian debate sparks outrage” (Metropolitan, Friday): This truly avoidable incident has demonstrated the class and lack thereof within the black Americancommunity.Moreko Griggs, the outstanding student who was named valedictorian at Waynesboro High School in Waynesboro, Va., should have received that honor after his principal announced the results.

The last-minute change was bungled badly, and Mr. Griggs should feel disappointed. Mr. Griggs will go on to Rice University and hopefully distinguish himself as a student, not just a black student. Mr. Griggs indeed set the bar higher for his peers.

Mr. Griggs’ relatives, and of course the NAACP, screamed “academic lynching” before they probably knew all of the facts. If Mr. Griggs had been white and the two other students had been black, these leftists would have been screaming the same old chant. The NAACP fails to realize that it is groups like theirs that have caused this problem within the educational system.

There is only one valedictorian, unless you have a mathematical dead heat. The system that plagues our schools is not lawsuits but special-interest groups wanting one of their own to win, whether they did or not.

There can be three, five or 10 valedictorians at each high school right here in Montgomery County. The prevailing edict that “everyone wins or nobody wins” is leftist drivel at best and diminishes the success of all students. Mr. Griggs is a class act and should appreciate the fact that he does not live here.

WILSON L. FARIS

Gaithersburg

Like a good neighbor …

Stephen Silver’s letter (“A humane solution,” yesterday) says that Israel offered the Palestinians a state “encompassing virtually all of the land in dispute.” This is untrue. Under the Camp David offer, Israel was to keep the settlements on the best land and East Jerusalem. Palestine was to be split into three parts, all surrounded by Israeli-held land. This would have been against the Fourth Geneva Convention.

He says that the world should commend Israel for the security wall, since it is a humane way of preventing attacks against it. But the wall loops out to enclose illegal Israeli settlements and more Palestinian land; it is a de facto annexation of Palestinian land and again against the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Mr. Silver lives happily in a democracy governed by the rule of law but sees no problem with Israel illegally grabbing Palestinian land to enlarge Israel. This is a shameful attitude.

WILLIAM G GARRETT

Harrow Middx.

England

Dueling on guns

It has been with great amusement that I have observed the media hand-wringing, even in your paper, regarding Virginia’s gun laws (“Virginia laws on weapons defy common sense,” Metropolitan, Friday). One can always tell a columnist’s position is weak when the columnist resorts to name-calling, as did Adrienne T. Washington when she referred to “hillbilly hills” and called lawmakers “East Coast gun-toters of the Wild West.”

We are proud of our police in Virginia, particularly in Fairfax County, where the controversy originated. When a county has one of the best police departments in the country and honest residents exercising their constitutional rights, it is no wonder that criminals prefer to ply their trade elsewhere.

I hope Miss Washington merely has a problem with the Constitution. That’s OK; she’s allowed to dislike the Constitution. Law-abiding gun owners also are allowed to dislike Miss Washington’s wishing us harm.

Wishing harm? Absolutely. Wishing citizens to be stripped of their constitutional rights and their ability to defend themselves is “wishing harm.”

STUART MILLER

Vienna

Lucky guesses

Your July 2 editorial “A scam and a sham” suggests that because new evidence has come to light suggesting that the Niger “yellow cake” story is true, the media owes President Bush an apology. This is ridiculous.

The fact remains that Mr. Bush included assertions in his State of the Union address for which he had no support at the time — assertions that his own administration advised him to exclude. The assertions may have amounted to lucky guesses, but the American people deserve better than guesses couched as facts when they are deciding whether to go to war.

DANIEL CONNOLLY

Brooklyn, N.Y.

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