Two weeks ago, I read with interest E. H. Van Blaricom's column on the problems with the behavior of the press. In particular, he lambasted Dan Rather and CBS for their discredited documents about aspects of Bush's National Guard service.

Coincidentally, just a few days before, I addressed the local Rotary Club on the deterioration of journalism in the last few decades, citing comments from Walter Cronkite's book, A Reporter's Life, published in 1996, and I criticized Dan Rather and CBS as the latest sensational example of how bad journalism has become.

I get upset about this because my grandfather was a newspaper editor and I have always had strong principles about objective journalism.

So, my opinion is what we have today is bad journalism with too many stories and TV news broadcasts mixing opinion with factual reporting. It exists on all sides of the political spectrum, as news outlets strive to achieve a captive audience of "fans" who find their own prejudices supported by their favorite outlet. Never mind skeptical thinking. Never mind demanding objective reporting of the facts with unbiased in-depth analysis. That is no longer what most of our citizens demand, and the news outlets know it.

My point in the Rotary meeting was that one thing that conservatives and liberals can agree upon is that there is bad journalism on all sides. To blame, according to Cronkite, is the increased emphasis by news outlet owners to make larger profits at the expense of offering news as a public service.

Fox News is the most hypocritical, with its claim of being "fair and balanced." It is anything but.

Dick Clover


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