Seattle Times is not independent

  Dear HCN,

Freedom of the press is eroding before our very eyes. So speaks Stephen Lyons, citing as authority, Robert Blethen, publisher of the Seattle Times (HCN, 11/11/02: Freedom of the press is eroding before our eyes). Couldn't he have found a better example?

Blethen's idea of independence is to run full-page ads in his newspaper in 2000 crying for elimination of the estate tax for himself and other multimillionaires, then endorse Bush for president, and deny that elimination of the estate tax influenced his decision to support our most notorious anti-environmental president. How can Lyons cite Blethen's purported concerns about the dangers of newspapers making decisions on the basis of the "corporate bottom line" when it is clear that Blethen's bottom line was precisely the reason for the Times' endorsement of W?

Lyons does not cite a single example of Blethen's independence. If the Seattle Times is someone's idea of the benefits of the press as a "watchdog," journalism is in sad shape indeed.

Fritz WollettSeattle, Washington

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