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Media Need to Be Trustworthy, Critical

November 04, 2001

Re "Media Still Wait to Be Called Up," Nov. 1: David Shaw really captured the dilemma facing both military commanders in the field and journalists.

However, the real problem may be a little different. He writes, "The public doesn't appear to see the media as its surrogate, as an essential, trustworthy source of information on the conduct of the war." With the very notable exception of The Times and a few other news outlets, far too many journalists are so concerned about promoting their own agendas that the facts get lost in the shuffle.

The military is composed of ordinary American citizens who, like the rest of us, know all too well the distortions, half-truths and outright lies that usually pass for news on television. If journalists were committed to telling the truth, people might trust them again, both in the combat fields and in everyday life.

Paul G. Simon

Church Point, La.

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So the media, that self-described "essential, trustworthy source of information," are not getting the access they want in the war against terrorism. Without the facts, without understanding the situation, they nevertheless feel free to accuse the military of lying and misrepresenting the actual state of the war. Talk about spin! Arrogance and ignorance are different sides of the same coin. The media have plenty of both.

William A. Mueller

Sherman Oaks

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Norah Vincent's observation that many Americans are showing themselves to be weak and whiny (Commentary, Nov. 1) is well substantiated by the majority of letters on Nov. 1 that addressed the attorney general's warnings about possible attacks and anti-terrorism legislation. "Terrorism from my own government"; "a scheme reminiscent of nazism"; "political oppression"; "the crazies are in control."

Rather than being merely the opinions of some whiny Americans, these hysterical rhetorical flourishes demonstrate first and foremost that people on the left have recovered from their momentary lapse of rallying to the flag. They are back to normal.

Manuel H. Rodriguez

Burbank

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Tell Vincent that the problem is:

If Osama bin Laden is caught, it isn't over. Thousands of "heroes" are being created every day by the present action all over the Muslim world. Arabs regard the Israelis as terrorists, and U.S. money props up Israel.

We are teaming up with people like Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Pakistani leader, etc., who are no democrats. We set up the anti-Russian arms dump in Afghanistan.

The Northern Alliance and the Pushtun southerners will never work together. They have just said so. When we defeat the Taliban, what then? We set up Saddam Hussein against Iran.

This terrorist campaign is against corrupt Muslim regimes, especially the Saudis.

The reportage in American papers seems very uncritical. "The Taliban are harder than we thought." Is this a joke? Live at 10,000 feet on nan bread, etc.

Sept. 11 was a horrendous crime. Let us not feed another one by stemming criticism. Isn't that what Islamic extremists want?

David Clayton

Liverpool, U.K.

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