The media

We need news we can trust

Freedom is a precious thing. We all take it for granted here in the United States. And freedom of the press (news media) is no exception.

When we read the morning papers, or watch TV, we know the stories have not been censored by some government official, whether national or local.

But, with that freedom comes responsibility, just as freedom of speech has responsibility, such as not yelling "fire" in a crowded theatre.

The news media in this country pretty much have the right to go places the general public is restricted from going. And courts over the years have ruled that a person loses privacy when something happens in a public area, and that includes accidents on public roads.

However, the responsible news media will seldom print a picture of a dead person, a person in obvious pain, etc., especially if the person can be identified.

If the news media do so, and the general public views it as in poor taste, it can hurt that paper's circulation and television viewership and their standing in the community. Thus, and simply to be responsible, most will not use such pictures.

If the news media are not responsible and use pictures and stories not in the public interest, it helps the ever-growing movement to restrict the news media from getting to a news story. Therefore, the news media must be responsible, and, in turn, our government officials, from the police, firefighters, county commissioner and on up to the highest levels, must allow access to news events.

There must be a trust between those who can control the news, and those who report the news. Without that trust, we all suffer.

T. S. Storck,

3306 Bears Road, Stevensville

President Bush

True leader in the White House

It feels so good to know that we have a man in the White House who doesn't just feel our pain, but is actually willing to do something about easing it.

Let's see. He pushed through a $1.3-trillion tax cut to ease the pain in your back pocket; he is being truthful about our energy problems and not usurping states' rights or consequences (see California) while pushing for a comprehensive energy policy so that the greatest country in the world can keep the lights on.

He is not intimidated by the murderous despots ruling China; and is pushing ahead with a defense program that, when operational, will protect not only North America, but most of the world from ICBMs. (Russia, for all the lies, has had its own missile defense system for a very long time.)

Bush is not willing to sacrifice our sovereignty on the altar of junk science that is global warming, and he is not seducing young interns and then trying to redefine what is and is not sex!

So, to all of you loony leftists (and you know who you are), thank you for writing and making the letters page an extension of the cartoon section.

Wes Hull,

929 Our Lane, Hamilton

Roadless ban

Ruling opens forests to exploitation

The May 11th Idaho court decision against the roadless ban by a conservative Republican judge, as well as the weak and farcical (two sentences) defense by Bush's government defense lawyers, is destroying America's faith in democracy in which public hearings and public opinion were overwhelmingly in favor of the ban to protect some of our last, remaining wild forests.

The judge states the roadless ban would "irrevocably damage" logging, mining and other exploitation and their roading subsidies, but I would argue that not having it would irrevocably damage our forests and their recreation economy.

For example, logging only contributes to about 4 percent to Montana's economy, whereas much of Montana's forest recreation jobs and their associated service jobs provide a major part of the state's economy. And these jobs would be lost under short-term forest exploitation/destruction, roads, and proliferation of ATVs as Montana and Idaho lose their images as scenic, forested states. Sure, there is some local opposition (check the shovel brigade organized by a logging company executive), but it must be kept in mind that it is our national forests which are owned by all the people of the United States as a public trust for present and future generations - and with tremendous support for the ban. A small minority of short-term, exploitative interests, including ATV and "multiple-use" groups, should not be able to dominate the majority and the public interest.

Daniel H. Henning,

l5l2 Highway 93, No. 22, Polson

Letters policy: The Missoulian welcomes and encourages letters to the editor on topics of general interest. Letters should be about 300 words or fewer. The Missoulian reserves the right to reject or edit letters for content and length. The Missoulian prints as many letters as possible. Letters must contain the writer's name, address and telephone number (phone numbers are for verification, not publication).

Mail to: Missoulian Letters, P.O. Box 8029, Missoula, MT 59807. Fax: 406-523-5294. E-mail: opinion@missoulian.com.

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