Where the Press Has Failed the Public

Regarding the Opinion page column "Of Newspapers and Their Imperatives," April 7: It is the rare exception rather than the rule that our metropolitan newspapers strive, in a timely fashion, to fully inform the public about significant happenings that profoundly affect our lives.

More often than not we learn long after the crucial event what the truth was all about: the complicity of oil industry moguls, the CIA, and the sustained support of a brutal regime in El Salvador to the tune of $6 billion dollars over many years. The leading papers of the United States press have repeated a litany of lies and misinformation put forth by government spokespeople about the virtues of the rotten regimes in El Salvador.

On the domestic front, the effective coverup of the impending Savings & Loan scandal was profound disservice to the public. As a whistle blower in the public interest, the press rates an F.

The columnists and host of editors should remove their rose-colored glasses in evaluating the social performance of the US press. The concentration of ownership and the dependence on advertising volume for profits have transformed the press into big business with most of the undesirable qualities of big business - arrogant control of substantive content, coddling of its peers in finance and manufacturing while acting as sycophants to government press agents who regard public deception as standard procedu re.

The critical reader who tries to be well informed on the controversial issues of the times must look elsewhere than metropolitan newspapers for understanding. The failure of the press is a prelude to the failure of American democracy. H. Dale Turner, Puyallup, Wash. The feud between two factions

Regarding the Opinion page article "Key Results From Forest Conference," April 16: President Clinton has shown a sincere interest in the April 2 Forest Conference. The president has inherited an enigma from past administrations. However, environmental pressures were never as great as they are today.

The problem to defuse can be described as a feud between two factions of environmental management. The forest industries are wrongly labeled the bad guys who only think in terms of dollar signs and self-preservation. To the left are the environmentalists, who are self-proclaimed guardians of and experts on our world's ecosystems. The Clinton administration must politically navigate through these two powerful groups.

The forest industry is trying to deal with facts and shake the stereotypes of the past, while environmentalists deal with emotion and inflated numbers and have succeeded in bombarding the blind masses in America with propaganda.

The dedication of the Clinton administration is there, but a serious question arises: Will the new administration find a realistic solution to the logjam by dealing with the facts and individual rights? The major abuses to the forests out west that the environmental activists cite can be attributed to the United States Forest Service and not to the large timber companies.

The only significant result from the Forest Conference was the commitment by Clinton to work with existing environmental laws and to protect the rights of Americans by enforcing the laws in court. The president should now take a closer look at our Constitution and the true status of our nation's forests. Steven P. Meyers, Auburn, Ala.

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