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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Cincinnati Enquirer Reader: Why No Walter Reed News?

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- The metro daily in Cincinnati wounded itself today by publishing a reader's letter that pointedly questioned the newspaper's judgment as a serious journalistic enterprise. The letter asked why a new broadcaster in the Reds' radio booth merited larger front-page importance than the medical mistreatment of injured Iraq War soldiers at the Army's biggest hospital. "Vets care outrage more important than baseball," was the headline over the Rev. John C. Karrer's letter to the editor.

"At a time when we are being told to 'Support the troops,' etc., I find it sad that the front page on March 2 had a big article 'Now Warming Up: Marty & Thom' about Thom and Marty Brennaman on Reds radio, and a very small item headlined "Soldier care at issue/Walter Red hospital chief fired.' At least we now know what is more important here in Cincinnati, and supporting our troops is way down the list."

But wait that's not the end of the story. There is a completely bizarre turn in the Enquirer's actions.

Rev. Karrer's letter of complaint about short-shrifting the news happened to appear on the same Opinion Page that carried a a six-column banner headline demanding superior treatment of wounded soldiers -- "Our injured vets deserve better." So the paper now appears to be jumping in and pounding the table on a topic it seems to have downplayed as a major news story.

"That is not right. We must do better. We can do better," the Enquirer says of the nation's responsibility to care for its wounded, adding that "How we care for our veterans is a national issue that is very much a local story in every community of the country, including our own."

But its news coverage of the scandal has clearly fallen short if Rev. Karrer is correct that The Enquirer blew it by opting for fluff over hard news. Is it guilty of incompetence and neglect? Is it just like the brass responsible for Walter Reed? Up until today, there seems to have been little interest in how veterans are cared for locally or anywhere else.

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