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Is Orson Scott Card telling the truth about whether media is telling the truth?

We’ve gotten a few requests — challenges is probably a better word — to publish Orson Scott Card’s recent column, “Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn On the Lights?”

A lot of copies are floating around the internet, but one place to find it is the online edition of Meridian magazine — “The place were Latter-day Saints gather.” Here’s a link.

We try to honor requests from readers to publish specific columns. We can’t always do it, usually because the cost of obtaining the rights are prohibitive.

In this case, Card’s column is just too long. It would take a full page, maybe a little more, for us to fit it in the Herald. We did publish a link to the piece in our letters column.

We’ve got better uses for the limited space in our dead tree edition that’s devoted to opinion. At the top of that list is providing a forum for Mid-Columbians to express their opinions. Right now, we’ve got a backlog of around 200 letters. They’ll take priority.

Card, whose biography claims Richland as his place of birth, makes the case that the media isn’t looking very aggressively at the connection between Democrats and the Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac fiasco because of a liberal bias.

Some folks are going to be convinced were afraid to run Card’s column because he’s critical of the media. But critical examinations of how the media perform often appear on our opinion pages.

Wednesday’s Voices page was topped by a Jonah Goldberg column arguing that media bias for Barack Obama is behind the hounding of Joe the Plumber — for example. Here’s a link.

Card — best known as a science fiction writer — seems to have hit an Internet nerve with his “open letter to the local daily paper — almost every local daily paper in America.”

In addition to the e-mail and phone calls we’ve received challenging us to publish the piece, we’ve received some criticism of the critic. You know you’re reaching an audience when you have fans and detractors.

One reader sent an open letter to Mr. Card — not sure if the e-mail comes from the author or was merely forwarded.

I’ll post some excerpts below, but it looks like Card and his detractor are arguing less about how well the media are doing their job and more about who ought to be the next president.

To everyone who demands from us the truth — I’d say that truth is a lot more elusive than most people seem to think. Anyway, here’s the response to Card’s column that we received:

“I was shocked at some of the contents. I mean it resounds so much. So, I did a little fact checking... 1st – Mr. Card calling himself a Democrat would have been like Jesse Helms calling himself a liberal. You can say it all day long, it don't make it true (look at his speaking engagements and other articles). 2nd - The current fiscal crisis, a direct result of the political decision in the 1990s... Mr. Card, keep in mind that the Republicans had control of the Congress from 1995-2006. Factually, the economic crisis has no one point of origin, but is a confluence of bad fiscal policies. However, the deregulation that is referred here was probably the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999, a Republican sponsored bill that repealed the Glass-Steagall Act (and lead to looser oversight and regulation of the financial industries market). Or, a case could be made that that the article is referring to the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005 (though he does say 90s) - which would have allowed tougher regulation of Fannie and Freddie. This bill made it out of committee, but was never brought up for consideration by a REPUBLICAN lead congress. McCain did sign on to this bill in 2006, AFTER it was essentially dead. See Mr. Card, you loose your credibility in bashing the "left wing" media when you, yourself, play fast and loose with the facts. 3rd - No, John McCain never took money from their lobbyist, but he sure did hire a ton of advisors who did. Rick Davis (his campaign manager) alone took $30,000/month for five years specifically to Fannie and Freddie against stricter regulations. Again, you leave out this little nugget. 4th - I'm not even going to touch the comment about Bush not drawing a link between Iraq and 9/11. You are kidding about that, right? Right? 5th - Bristol Palin vs. John Edwards. Google says ... Bristol Pregnancy 1,130,000 articles. John Edwards Affair - 2,420,000 articles. Hmmm. I guess you and I are getting our news from different outlets. My outlets trashed Edwards pretty good. My outlets, for the most part, have left Bristol alone. Mr. Card, if you're going to trash the media and accuse them of not telling the truth, maybe you should start at your own keyboard. Sir, I know journalists. You, sir, are no journalist.”

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