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The race isn’t always to the Swift

The reader of a Lessenberry column needs to be forearmed with a firm grasp of conventional left/right thinking on any conceivable issue and understand that when Lessenberry is stating a liberal position he is being serious, and when he is stating a conservative position you are supposed to hear it in a wry, condescending tone of voice. This stylistic quirk convinces me that he is only accustomed to addressing people who agree with him.

Now he prints a column (“No sex means no scandal,” Metro Times, Sept. 15) where he is raging against the slimy Swiftvets for attacking John Kerry’s Vietnam record, and at the same time promoting the latest set of bogus documents about Bush’s absenteeism.

Until a few months ago most Americans had never heard of John Kerry. He was introduced to them in the Democratic primaries as a plucky Swift boat skipper, a JFK for the new age. The Democratic strategists based their whole campaign on ignoring his unremarkable political career and concentrating on his four months in Vietnam. Now the Kerry camp stands by in slack-jawed astonishment, turning into simpering indignation, while the Republican machine cuts Kerry down on the ground he chose for himself.

I’ll offer some constructive advice: If you want to unseat Bush, you can’t just put up a nothing candidate and expect the campaign to win itself because he isn’t Bush. You need to stop talking only to people who share your vague, inarticulate, implacable loathing for Bush, find out why people vote for him, and come up with an alternative vision of how America should direct itself (complete with concrete suggestions), then articulate it in a way that people outside your own circle can understand. And that will mean adjusting your writing style to one that will be appreciated by people who don’t already agree with you. —Andrew Bateman, Kitchener, Ont.

 

Bad reporting no occasion to gloat

I have no problem with any columnist, newspaper, radio or television, of any stripe. I have listened to all kinds from Rush Limbaugh to reading Ellen Goodman, and believe they have a right to their political views and to air or print them. But I don’t believe purveyors of hard news — per example Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw or Peter Jennings — have a right to lead us to the voting booth with slanted views that should be clearly labeled “opinion.” Of this last group, Dan Rather is ever, in my opinion, the most guilty.

More than 30 years ago, I identified Rather for what he is: a poor journalist with suspect ethics and values. Comparing his stories with those of his contemporaries often leaves me scratching my head.

It has been suggested by several reporters and news agencies, and in several cases verified, that more than once, he made the news himself, either concocting stories that were later proved grayish at best or others that were deliberately contrived to appear something they were not.

As Jay Leno said on “The Tonight Show” the other night: “Dan Rather. You know him. He’s the guy who put the ‘BS’ in CBS.”

I suggest that Mr. Lessenberry should not be embarrassed any more than any other editor, reporter or columnist who fell for this purported news story. The Rather hoax took the entire industry in, and consequently, a good majority of our readership and listenership.

I hope we will all learn an important lesson from this regrettable incident: Not all news is true news, and the more exclusive the report, the more skeptical we need be. —Lenn Zonder, Woodbridge, Conn.

 

A darn good question

So Dan Rather depended on forged documents in his report about Bush’s Guard service.

George Bush depended on forged documents, about uranium from Niger, to take us to thousands of deaths and total chaos in Iraq.

Now, who should get fired? —Dorothy Smith, Seattle, Wash.

 

Our new style not your type?

Are you planning to provide magnifying glasses with the new format? The type is so small I’m getting a huge headache trying to read it. I really dig your magazine, but, please, for us old folks over 20, make the type a readable size without the need for magnification. —Janet Wolters, Royal Oak

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