Time: Wed Dec 17 05:33:55 1997
From: Paul Andrew Mitchell [address in tool bar]
Subject: SLS: "Reporters ... NOT Reporting ...." (fwd)
Bcc: sls, friends

>Date:          Wed, 17 Dec 1997 05:20:46 -0500
>From:          Mayor Loz <landlord@telerama.lm.com>
>Subject:       Reporters ... NOT Reporting....
>December 17, 1997
>An open letter to my colleagues
>For nearly 20 years I served as a reporter and editor at daily
>newspapers in major markets around the country. As a reporter I've
>covered every imaginable story from mass murders to political races. As
>the top editor of several daily newspapers, I've supervised hundreds of
>other journalists -- some of them good, some of them bad.
>In all my years in the establishment press, I can't think of a single
>instance in which a colleague questioned the soundness of my news
>judgment. Therefore, I've got wonder: Have I suddenly lost my touch? Or
>have my colleagues in the major media lost their nerve?
>I refer to the lack of coverage of one of the most sensational stories
>of our time -- the apparent bullet hole found in Commerce Secretary Ron
>Brown's skull.
>So far, two highly credible military forensic pathologists involved in
>the investigation of Brown's plane crash death last year have come
>forward, one the record, to state their conviction that there is an
>unexplained, circular wound, characteristic of a gunshot, in Brown's
>head. Air Force Lt. Col. Steve Cogswell and Army Lt. Col. David Hause
>both agree that Brown should have been autopsied. Remarkably, he was
>Today, after examining the photographic and x-ray evidence, one of the
>nation's most prominent forensic pathologists sticks his neck out to
>agree with their findings. Dr. Cyril Wecht of Pittsburgh said there was
>"more than enough" evidence to suggest possible homicide in Brown's
>death to warrant an autopsy.
>"It's not even arguable in the field of medical legal investigations
>whether an autopsy should have been conducted on Brown," said Wecht, who
>has conducted some 13,000 autopsies himself and reviewed approximately
>30,000 others. "I'll wager you can't find a forensic pathologist in
>America who will say Brown should not have been autopsied."
>In this case, you can forget political motivations being behind Wecht's
>outspokenness. He is a prominent Democrat.
>Meanwhile, as the experts line up behind the unexplained bullet hole
>theory, the original explanation of Brown's death is growing more
>suspect. Air Force Col. William Gormley, the pathologist who signed off
>on the Brown case for the government, has changed his story. After being
>confronted with the photographs on a television show, he now renounces
>earlier statements suggesting the hole didn't penetrate the skull. Brain
>matter is clearly visible in the photographs -- which, strangely, had
>been lost by the government. About the missing x-rays and photos, Wecht
>joins the suspicious among us.
>"The frequency of lost x-rays, hospital records, documents, autopsy
>materials and other materials in a medical-legal investigation is
>directly in proportion to the complexity, controversy and external
>challenges," he says. He says such losses are "very, very rare" in
>normal cases.
>There appears to be nothing normal about the Brown case -- which, you
>would think, would add to its newsworthiness. Uh-uh. Not only has the
>story been largely ignored by the big papers, some of the nation's
>leading reporters have begun dismissing the reports without ever looking
>at the evidence.
>Howard Kurtz, the media critic of the Washington Post, cited the Brown
>story as one more reason to dismiss prize-winning investigative reporter
>Christopher Ruddy's earlier reporting on the death of Vincent Foster. Is
>that journalism? Or is that faith?
>I wouldn't have believed my colleagues could be this myopic, this
>closed-minded, this trusting of authority if I hadn't seen it happen
>over and over and over again in recent years. For certain stories, no
>amount of evidence can persuade journalists to question official
>government findings. Worse yet, any renegade reporters who do had better
>be prepared for an inquisition, ridicule and ostracism.
>Frankly, I consider it to be a badge of honor to be rejected by a
>profession that has lost its moral foundation, its curiosity, in fact,
>its whole sense of purpose.
>No, it's not me that has lost my news judgment. I got into this business
>inspired by the press' role in uncovering the Watergate scandal. Back
>then, reporters and editors had no problem questioning government
>handouts. What's changed since then? The party in the White House? Is
>that all it takes?
>If the press doesn't get on the ball soon, my dear colleagues are going
>to owe Richard Nixon a profound and posthumous apology.
>Joseph Farah is editor of the Internet newspaper WorldNetDaily.com and
>executive director of the Western Journalism Center an independent group
>of investigative reporters.
>Go to the between the lines archive

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