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Saturday 14 January 2012

Writing to the New York Times

Dear Editor,

Thank you for your article on January 12, 2012, "Should The Times Be a Truth Vigilante?" I have long suspected that the Times was entirely unconcerned with the truth and was slavishly repeating the claims of people in or seeking power, but it's nice to have it confirmed as the official policy of the newspaper. This will especially come in handy when I am arguing with others about the lack of merit of your newspaper.

As to your question about whether you should bother yourself with reporting the truth, I would say no. You don't have any credibility anyway and it's cheaper just to print press releases without doing research.

Thank you for taking the time to solicit reader opinion,
Charles Céleste Hutchins

Recently, I've learned that freedom of the press is much, much better protected in the United States than it is in the United Kingdom. Journalists are free to make claims with good evidence without having to be in fear of overly-strong libel laws. In the UK, you cannot make a claim without absolute proof. In the US, you just need good evidence and the occasional "alleged" and you're good. UK journalists are jealous of the many press protections afforded American journalists.

And yet, with all the freedom to actually point out lies and fraud and corruption and to let their readers know when somebody is obviously lying - with the freedom to look into things and print what they find, with all of the great and wonderful legal protections the US provides to it's journalists, the newspaper of record wonders if readers actually expect them to do any journalism. Brisbane, the editor, writes, "I’m looking for reader input on whether and when New York Times news reporters should challenge 'facts' that are asserted by newsmakers they write about."

I wish I could say I was shocked.

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