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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

A Chilling Effect on News Coverage

September 28, 2004

Re "Rather May Have Been a Victim of His Own Style," Sept. 26: Because CBS erred in not sufficiently vetting false documents that made a true point -- George W. Bush's record of military service is shot through, from start to finish, with favoritism -- it now deems it inappropriate to air another story that is likely to rankle the White House.

The network's refusal to air a report critical of the administration's decision to make war on Iraq "so close" to the election suggests to this viewer that there is no need for the Republican Party to lift a finger to bring this story down, since CBS will graciously self-censor and squash it on its own. In doing so, CBS sends the American people an important message: It will not report the news, but manage it.

It doesn't matter to me if the Iraqi war segment is pro-Bush, anti-Bush, a paragon of journalistic integrity or a partisan rant: What matters is that I have a right to hear it on public airways.

S.R. Willen

Beverly Hills

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Psst! Let me clue the media in on priorities. Finding out who forged the document claiming Saddam Hussein was trying to buy yellowcake from Niger is more important to us than doing the same for a document claiming Bush reneged on his National Guard duty, something that's widely accepted anyway.

And, by the way, the stain on Monica's dress was far less significant than the stain on the national conscience from being made party to a phony war in Iraq with real, deadly and everlasting consequences.

Sridhar Subramanian

Santa Barbara

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What's next? Marcia Clark apologizes to O.J.?

William P. Bekkala

West Hollywood

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