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Letters to the Editor - Lakeville Journal - 9-14-17

Blumenthal did lie about his service, Mr. Piel

In the August 24th edition of The Lakeville Journal, Anthony Piel emphatically opined that Senator Richard Blumenthal never lied about his service in Vietnam, which makes Tony Piel about as connected to the truth as Blumenthal. The New York Times broke the story in May of 2010 that Blumenthal’s words did not match his record as far as his service in Vietnam was concerned. That article can be viewed as well as an archived New York Times video of Blumenthal saying, “We have learned something very important since the days when I served in Vietnam.”

Putting all of Mr. Piel’s shameful spin aside, that statement literally meant that Blumenthal served in the country of Vietnam. Mr. Blumenthal apologized for his statements, and so should Tony Piel. Mr. Piel prefaced his argument by saying this was his recollection of Mr. Blumenthal’s statements, this of course would give him an out  when the well-known facts would be brought to light. His excuse could then be, sorry my recollection was faulty. He should have checked the facts before he spouted off, of course he probably did, but he couldn’t let the facts get in the way of his “fake” news. 

Tom Olownia

 

North Canaan

 

WHOA!

My attention was caught by the title of Mark Godburn’s “On the Record” piece in The Lakeville Journal Aug. 31, “American media worse than the Russians,” as was the intention, I presume. The title refers to his last sentence: “The press and the Democrats should drop their fishing expedition [re. Trump and the Russian connection]. They’re worse than the Bolsheviks.” 

Whoa! Bolsheviks? This is a term coined in 1903 for the Leninist branch of the revolutionary parties trying to overthrow the czar. The term does catch the eye. Its use also makes an unintended — I assume — but ironic connection between the czar and Trump. Oh oh.

What does gall, however, is Mr. Godburn’s assertion that the U.S. press and Democrats are trying to undermine election results and therefore are worse than the Russians. That statement is both highly inaccurate and deeply insulting. It is the Russian government’s well-established interference in the election that raises the issue in the first place. The expanding Mueller investigation, plus four congressional committees doing concommitant work, are driving the media, not the other way around. Mueller’s work is deemed of such importance by both parties in Congress that a bipartisan group set up protections to prevent Trump from dismissing Mueller.

On a lesser level of importance, Mr. Godburn opines that the “liberal” press creates a bump of 5 to 10 percent for Democrats in elections. However, an analysis by Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics & Public policy shows the following: 1. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump received coverage that was overwhelmingly negative in tone and extremely light on policy; 2. On topics relating to the candidates’ fitness for office, Clinton and Trump’s coverage was virtually identical in terms of its negative tone.

Finally, the role of the press in covering the Russian investigations is not the same thing as the press indulging in “media bias.” Media bias does exist all along the political spectrum — always has. In this case, however, let us wait until Mueller’s and the congressional investigations are finished to comment accurately on the truth of things. 

Barbara Maltby

Lakeville