A matter of integrity

Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2002

Don Smith's editorial habit of vilifying people and organizations with whom he disagrees compromises the Juneau Empire's integrity.

In his Sunday editorial, Smith told us that he disagreed with a news story that came across the wire. Instead of reporting the news objectively, like an honest journalist, he chose to withhold the story from the public. In the place of news, he then served us a biased and accusatory editorial.

The United States is based on free press, equal representation, and freedom to affect social change. Our country is a better place to live because people organized behind ideas that they believed in. Women were not given the right to vote, they had to fight for it. We have the right to coffee and bathroom breaks because workers braved bosses who told them they would lose their job if they didn't work 12 hours non-stop. We have child labor laws that protect kids from grueling hours of work under inhuman conditions. We consider these basic rights as citizens of our country. People still flock to our shores because these rights make the United States a haven in a difficult world.

Though Smith clearly cannot stand any organization that dares to challenge the status quo, he had better learn a history lesson. He should stand up, salute the flag that gives us the freedom and right to organize, and thank his lucky stars that our grandmothers and great uncles fought for the laws that protect our way of life.

Smith doesn't have to like what people and organizations do, but his job is to report news fairly so the public has a chance to look at the issues. Once Smith begins to withhold news from the public and use his editorial-ship to voice his opinions, we're all in trouble.

Aurah Landau


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