To the editor:

Being free to say what we want is a beautiful thing. It’s a right that we’re graced with, and it’s something we have abused horribly in the last few years (think FOX, New York Post, etc). It seems that anger and spite have driven much of our reporting as of late, but even that (although I’m against it) falls under the rights granted by freedom of speech.
However, when reporters make incendiary remarks without giving all of the facts or checking their sources, then I have a huge problem with that. If you take the time to write to or for a newspaper, you should feel confident that you either have something valuable or important to say, or that you’re at least qualified to back your comments.
In his latest fragmented article, Don Donelson wrote that France had voted almost unanimously to ban the “head scarf.” A slight detail that Mr. Donelson omitted was that the head scarf was banned from schools only. Schools that also don’t allow the wearing of crosses, yarmulkes or any other sign of religion since there is separation of Church and State. French schools have adhered to laicism for centuries and will continue to do so.
If Mr. Donelson wants to taunt American moral superiority, then he should probably think about such schoolroom traditions as the pledge of allegiance (which public schools play over the PA every morning… “one nation under God”) when the United States also claims separation of Church and State.
So help me God.
France’s and Germany’s opposition to the war in Iraq ultimately proved to be 100 percent correct, and the Bush administration is still struggling to dodge allegations of lying and deceiving the American public. (Let alone dividing the international community.)
Donelson’s article is a typical example of how “news” gets thrown around and turns into entertainment and partisan squabbling.
If you think you’re reporting facts, double-check them. A good thing to do when you write something about people you hate or despise (as it seems Donelson does the Germans and French) it’s best to write your article, take a five-minute break and come back to re-read and re-write it. You’d be amazed at how objective you’ll become. I myself erased several paragraphs where I called Mr. Donelson all sorts of names, and something about a marsupial and a jar of peanut butter, but then I calmed down and stuck to the facts.


Jonathan Mason