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Letters: Real news and 'The Newsroom'

July 28, 2012

Re "News done wrong," Opinion, July 24

Jonah Goldberg was correct to excoriate ABC News reporter Brian Ross for making an inflammatory speculation that alleged Colorado shooter James Holmes could be connected to the "tea party" (he isn't). Ross is guilty of fanning viewer hysteria.

However, in Goldberg's attempt to drag HBO's"The Newsroom"into his wide net, he is guilty of the same mistake as Ross. The entire premise of "The Newsroom" is that the fictional news show shuns speculation. Ross' statements, far from being "an audition for "'The Newsroom,'" would not have been allowed on that show.

Does Goldberg dislike the fictional newsroom's mission of exposing the difference between fact-based journalists and those who allow extreme opinions to boost ratings? Who knows? This is just my speculation.

Katrina Goldsmith

Cardiff, Calif.

Goldberg writes: "It would be nice to know if Ross checked to see if there were any Jim Holmes around Aurora who were connected to the Occupy Wall Street movement or any who were Muslims. Or was the tea party simply the first place he looked? And if so, why?"

What makes Goldberg think that Ross simply decided to check the local tea party website? Much more likely, he simply Googled the suspect's name and "Aurora" to see what would come up.

I did the same (excluding the terms "Ross" and "ABC" to weed out most of the pages relating to the controversy), and the Denver tea party page came up quickly. I didn't see anything relating to Occupy or to any particular religion.

Ross' reporting was sloppy and irresponsible, but I believe Goldberg is way off base in assuming Ross was specifically looking for a link between Holmes and the right wing.

Michael Chaskes

Los Angeles

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