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Letter: Writer was wrong to demean all media

To the editor, I'm glad letter-writer Bob Legg had a good vacation drive through several states recently, during which he and his wife "experienced nothing but nice people." (Letter, "In the U.S., good far outweighs bad." July 12). But I wish he ...

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To the editor,

I'm glad letter-writer Bob Legg had a good vacation drive through several states recently, during which he and his wife "experienced nothing but nice people." (Letter, "In the U.S., good far outweighs bad." July 12).

But I wish he had not resorted to that tired old line about "the media," as in, "In today's world, the media loves reporting everything that's bad or what is wrong with this country." That feeds the vile narrative that journalists who ask tough questions, expose lies and corruption and shine a light on difficult problems are "enemies of the people."

First off, don't you want an independent press monitoring your government, local to national? Don't you want to know how your police and courts are doing, what the level of crime is in your city, your neighborhood?

As a journalist, I took no pleasure in reporting on rape, murder, racism or child abuse, though I certainly had my share of ugly assignments. Rather, in nearly a half century of newspaper reporting, I thrived on telling stories that showed the good in people, the good in this great country. I think my favorite was the story of a Minnesota World War II veteran who came home and converted his entire yard to a vegetable garden and donated every ounce of 6,000-plus pounds of food annually to his local food shelf - because during the war he had been a prisoner, assigned by his captors to ladle out thin cabbage soup once a day to his fellow prisoners, and he described how he watched gums pull away from teeth and stomachs shrivel as his buddies starved. For years until he died, this good man fought against hunger. My editors and I - the media - told you about him.

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You can find such stories nearly every day in our newspapers, big and small: stories of people dedicated to helping others, helping to make this nation great. So by all means, as Mr. Legg writes, "Don't let the media control your thinking or your views. Form your own." Do that by reading, listening, researching, thinking. Challenge media reports if you think they're wrong or slanted. Look for verification of facts presented in social and traditional media. But don't glibly demean an entire profession and all the honest, hard-working journalists who care about our country and our democracy at least as much as you do.

Chuck Haga

Grand Forks

Related Topics: CHUCK HAGA
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