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Published: Monday, 10/4/2004

Let's talk journalistic integrity

The Blade printed a Sept. 24 report about an e-mail campaign pressuring the CBS television network to fire its lead news anchor, Dan Rather. This effort was launched by something called Rathergate.com, which is evidently outraged that Mr. Rather based a recent report on President Bush's National Guard "service" on documents that are now widely believed to be fakes.

The Blade report quoted the person who set up the site to protest this latest lapse in journalistic professionalism as saying "the buck has to stop."

Really? Earlier this year, another pillar of the supposedly liberal media establishment, the New York Times, also admitted an egregious error. It acknowledged that its softball coverage of the run-up to the Iraq War was "not as rigorous as it should have been" and did not sufficiently investigate the White House's wild claims of the presence of weapons of mass destruction.

One must assume that sloppy reportage on the justification for a major war in which we are still mired is slightly more worthy of criticism than faulty coverage of an event occurring more than 30 years ago. If the Rathergate people or other like-minded groups are so concerned about journalistic integrity, they should also have complained about the Times' shortfalls.

Yet we never heard so much as a peep from these agenda-driven cranks on the issue.

RICK BAUM

Densmore Drive

Things aren't so bad domestically. I don't know what everyone is crying about. Every day somebody is crying about the loss of the middle class and the outsourcing of good jobs.

It's annoying how negative these people are. They just refuse to see the positive things. Like, for example, an article in Forbes 400 magazine where it broke the news that this year set a record for the number of billionaires in the U.S.A.! While millions of working Americans might have been laid off, or fired this year, 45 new billionaires were made, bringing the total to 313. Wal-Mart may employ 100,000 people who don't make a living wage, but the four children of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton are the fourth through eighth richest people in America, worth about $18 billion apiece! So come on, everybody. Sing along. "I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm "

DAVID FRIEDMAN

Country Creek Lane

By historical account, there was once a "bleeding heart liberal" who implored us to sacrifice in helping the needy, without finding fault or looking for return on our investment. He suggested we be content with what we have, avoiding the pitfalls of debt and seeking wealth. He despised arrogance, encouraging humility.

He opposed rigid laws to legislate morality, urging tolerance. He spoke out against violence, promoting the pursuit of peace. He further directed that we actually care for those who do wrong against us, in place of seeking vengeance.

These directives, unpopular then as now, eventually ended in his long, agonizing execution. Though he suffered great abuse and torment, his dying words included a request of forgiveness for his executioners. Over the following 2,000 years, one of the world's major religions has carried his name.

Today, many of us loudly proclaiming to be his followers avoid living his example, denying and even opposing his directives.

Lacking compassion, we seek excuse for failing to help the world's needy and starving. Self-absorbed, appeasing our voracious appetites for consumer goods, we wander into the snares of excessive debt, greed, even wastefulness.

Our competitive spirit of self-improvement has been replaced with the dark strategy of opponent destruction. When feeling wronged, we lust for vengeance, failing to search for cause and solution, even blundering disastrously into unprovoked war.

People of many cultures and beliefs blindly subvert their religious faith into justification for the very violence, vengeance, and greed it directly opposes. How can so many proclaim so arduously to be of a religious faith, while so adamantly opposing its most basic principles? If verbal claims of religious faith were replaced by living examples as intended, the cancers of violence, war, starvation, and even terrorism would be sent into remission.

DAVID A. WARNER

Rowland Road

I read with great interest the articles and statements of the people who are hurt and surprised by the closings of their beloved parishes.

Let's face it.

We all like to claim that we are Catholic or Methodist or Lutheran or Baptist or non-denominational or whatever. But a lot of people use the church only on Christmas and Easter, and for baptisms, funerals, and weddings.

Remember when a church was open 24 hours a day and no door was ever locked? Remember how they were filled after 9/11?

Yes, we love Christ, but on our own terms.

The church has to pay its light bills and water and heating bills, just as we do in our homes. So when people who claim to be of that faith don't go or don't tithe over the years, this is what happens. You lose not just a building but you can lose your soul.

A lot of Christian churches have closed in the past several years because of lack of membership, and not much has been written about them. They have silently slipped away.

How sad. The situation sounds worse because it's several at one time. Any church closing is a tragedy, but things can change. Encourage everyone to attend all the time. Don't sleep in on Sundays, or play golf, or go shopping.

Whatever happened to Sunday being the day of rest? God asks for just a few minutes of your day. You may be surprised how God can change your personal life.

It's just a building, but it's God's house! And anyone is welcome.

MARY POE

Primrose Avenue

It was with surprise that I read The Blade article "Little Flower puts housing project on hold."

I have worked as a senior service coordinator in public housing for the past 10 years. We are located in West Toledo in a primarily single-family neighborhood.

We are also located directly behind an elementary school and have a positive relationship with the school. Several seniors have volunteered at the school.

It is hard for me to understand why anyone would be against a seniors apartment building in his or her neighborhood.

Or is the real problem that the building is public housing? One neighborhood resident stated "we don't need public housing on church property."

Isn't a mission of the church to show caring and compassion to those in need?

Seniors make great neighbors!

JOYCE MORAN

Woodbriar Drive

It seems as though a great deal of politically oriented attention has been directed at the health-care crisis. Said crisis has been partially blamed on the lack of tort reform, as well as the high cost of liability insurance, causing physicians to abandon their private practices or even leave their profession.

Perhaps the public should keep in mind that the health-care crisis will only worsen should our next vice president be a former trial lawyer who made his estimated $20-50 million fortune by suing physicians.

The American Trial Lawyers PAC will have a kindred soul at the White House to help it continue to stonewall legitimate health-care reform.

CHARMAINE G. BLAYLOCK

Walbridge

In 2003 the number of U.S. billionaires increased by about 20 percent while the number of Americans living below the poverty level increased to 36 million. When you couple that with massive federal deficits, a record number of bankruptcies, and hundreds of thousands of lost jobs, it makes you wonder why President Bush insists we are headed in the right direction.

KEN CLOSE

Orchard Tree Lane



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