To the editor of the LA Times:
Your article from 10/6, the day after the VP debates, "Rivals' Bold Assertions Are Debatable," was flagrantly unbalanced since your article presents the "truth-shading" by the two debaters as being balanced between the two. The subtitle claims "both are guilty" but the evidence used in your article actually shows is that the truth shading by Edwards was minor at worst--while Cheney's flat out lies were, as ever, egregious.
The article claims "Cheney never flatly asserted that Iraq was complicit in the Sept. 11 plot" but then goes on to give one clear example of how he flatly asserts the connection, a connection he has obviously made countless times. What does he have to say exactly for it to meet your mark of "flat assertion"? "Hussein planned 9/11"? Who doesn't know that the Iraq war is more accepted by Americans if they mistakenly see it as part of a war on terror? Machiavellian Cheney knows this well and has obviously used the lie of a Iraq-9/11 connection very many times, and without any moral reservations, even as tens of thousands die in this illegal war, and the war does nothing to fight those who threaten us, and even makes the US more and more vulnerable to Islamic extremism.
Cheney, as you reported, also lied about capturing or killing "thousands of Al Qaeda" members—another egregious lie with national security at stake, as if the Bush administration has really cared as much about securing our country from terrorists as securing its hold on power. Two American myths: the Bush administration is good on security and Iraq is connected to 9/11. They were deaf to terror warnings before 9/11, resisted the 9/11 commission and the establishment of a department of homeland security after the attacks, never dealt with Saudi Arabia as a serious "geographic base" of Islamic terror, have yet to do even the most obvious safeguard of compiling and putting into action a terrorist watch list, redirected massive resources needed for attacking Al Qaeda away from operations in South Asia and Osama bin Laden to the Persian Gulf, and in so doing enraged a huge chunk of the Islamic world and alienated our traditional allies, etc., etc.
Now, what did Edwards lie about? He said that the US has suffered 90% of the coalition casualties, and the actual figure is 88.5%. Yup: he's a liar all right. And why do you even entertain Cheney's blatant lie that the figure ought to be closer to 50%? The issue was "coalition" deaths, not deaths in general. Even if deaths in general were the issue, that figure would be a lie since it is obvious that--not even counting Iraqi combatant deaths--many more Iraqi civilians have died than American combatants in this war, by a factor of twelve or more as of today (www.iraqbodycount.org).
Why does your paper, and so many other news organizations, seem to bend over backward for this administration? Given the radical nature of this administration and its cult-like following, I think it is way past the time that news media in general need to radically reconsider their conception of journalistic balance. The world is relying on our fourth estate to do just this. The stakes are too high not to do so.
Los Angeles, CA