Letters to the Editor: September 3- 9, 2009

Omissions in Coverage Of Health Reform


As usual, I enjoyed your vivid reporting, this time in regard to the Rep. Jim Moran and Howard Dean at the town hall meeting as reported in your August 27, 2009 front page article. However, I feel there were serious omissions or misstatements of fact in your article.

First, the independent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) determined that the Senate Bill would cost a staggering $1.6 Trillion over 10 years. Costs are anticipated to continue to rise in the subsequent 10 years. Needless to say, if enacted, all US taxpayers will face significantly higher taxes and, most likely, the Federal Government will be required to borrow more money to cover anticipated shortfalls in tax revenue.

Second, there is no apparent effort to implement tort reform. Many physicians order needless (and wasteful) medical tests and procedures and refer patients to specialists as a shield against lawsuits. Thus, another significant cost driver of healthcare is untouched.

Third, we have serious near term issues with the maintenance and funding of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Perhaps best to focus reform efforts on these issues now before we take a leap of faith on yet another extraordinarily large and expensive Federal program.

Mark Kaye

Falls Church


Story Showed Bias in Favor of ‘Public Option’


Perhaps it would be best, as the FCNP Platform says, to “keep the news clean and fair” and “play no favorites” in your news reporting. As newspaper ad sales continue to plummet, I realize a paper published in a left-leaning city must, at times, cater to its readers to maintain their subscription count. By the same token, it might also be wise to resist too much outside influence, as one would think retaining readers from all political views would be in the paper’s best interest.

The front page story on the town hall hosted by Rep. Moran and Howard Dean, written by Nicholas F. Benton, should never have made it past the copy editor. I was immediately displeased with the tone of the article which clearly favored the ‘strong case’ made by the hosts for the public health care option. I thought I was reading a fable designed to convince the reader of the morality of public health care, with Moran and Dean as the reasonable protagonists valiantly dispelling the myths of the public option in the face of loud opposition. I thought, perhaps it is a simple op-ed or weekly column. Either way, it was clear the author was not writing an objective news story focused on the facts.

A prior letter to the editor shared this view, commenting Mr. Benton in his role as a columnist. I was confused. I thought he was a political news reporter, as displayed in his two cover stories. Flipping to the opinion section of the paper dispelled my puzzlement. Here his thinly veiled favoritism toward the public option was given its full defense. Reading both, it was difficult to differentiate which was reporting and which was solely opinion, as both are filled with the author’s own value judgments. Perhaps he thought a copy and paste job served his purposes (in both stories holding ‘myths’ is just too ‘polite’ a term to use for the apparently rude arguments given by public option opponents). Question: Why leave Moran’s demand for an I.D. from one of his own constituents, in front of the stage no less, out of the story’s narrative? Did Mr. Benton instead need to use those precious inches to make sweeping statements against those greedy private insurance companies, and not the trial lawyers who strain health care providers to their breaking point?

Let the news be reported “clean and fair” and leave opinion the columnists. At the very least, please deter your columnists from copying and pasting their opinions when putting on their ‘reporter’ hats.

Jameson Cunningham

Via the Internet


‘Do Not Enter’ Signs Don’t Help F.C.’s Image


Bemused Falls Church City residents who are shocked by the city’s reputation as unwelcoming look no further than the Aug.27-Sept. 2 issue to see part of the reason why.

Two news briefs – one horrific and one celebratory, neither in Falls Church City — neatly sum up a too-prevalent attitude. A brutal stabbing of a woman and toddler is referenced as “near Bailey’s Crossroads,” while a news story on Chef Tennille Middleton notes that she is from “Falls Church’s Sweetwater Tavern.” The selective embrace of events to fit a desired – and false – image doesn’t help change perceptions of area residents who consider Falls Church City unfriendly to outsiders.

I suppose neither do the “Do Not Enter” signs that tell neighboring residents to have a permit to enter city limits during key driving hours.

Jeff Lenard

Falls Church

Right-Wing Folks Unable to Think for Selves


I am writing in response to the Letters to the editor titled “Says Health Care Reform is ‘Socialism'” published in the Falls Church News-Press August 27, 2009. I am tired of people of the right wing, who are not smart enough to think for themselves and echo the party line provided by “proven” leaders such as Rush Limbaugh.

I have been unemployed for over a year and have not been able to get health care even though I can pay for it because of a pre existing condition. If health insurance companies didn’t want to be regulated than they should ensure that everyone could get heath care coverage, not just those people healthy enough that the company can make more profit.

Look at businesses that used our natural resources like water, air, and the land for their personal gain. They used these free resources and as a result the government had to pass the Clean Air and Clean Water acts to make them clean up after themselves. If they had done those themselves to begin with no regulations would have had to have been passed.

Look at cars. Having taken some business courses a company is supposed to set goals that ensure its existence for the future. It should be of no shock to anyone that our oil resources are going to run out. (I believe we should use up the Arabs resources before we use our own. Just drilling off our shores for more is not going to solve the long term problem, but all you heard from the right wingers during the presidential campaign was the refrain, drill, drill, drill.) Car companies should have been investing in new technologies a long time ago. And they should not have been providing cars for the short term that gas guzzling Americans wanted now.

Jay Rubin

Falls Church