Letters to the Editor

LettersToTheEditorDear Editor:

I am writing regarding the “Betcha Didn’t Know That . . .” article or editorial item (it is unsigned and carries no by-line, so its status is quite unclear) on page 68 of the November issue of the Ojo

That item makes the assertion that “The Constitution of the United States reads: ‘Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens . . . [etc.].’”  The Constitution of the United States and its amendments make no such statement nor do they have any passage that reads that way.  When you publish inaccurate, unsubstantiated nonsense like that, you call into question the quality of your entire publication.  Further, since the item ends with an “Ed. Note,” regardless of who wrote it, the implication is that these are statements coming from the magazine’s editors and that the Ojo is taking specific responsibility for them. 

Since none of the assertions made in the item (such as “Children of the U.S. Congress members do not have to pay back their college student loans,” to cite only the first) are documented or sourced in any way, they are certainly all at least open to question.  Published assertions such as these and the following ones should be supported by specific references to law, rule, or regulation, or other credible source, if in fact such exist.  As written, these statements are at best impossible to verify.

This is all quite disappointing and should call at least for a retraction of the statement about the Constitution, which with a simple reading of the document and its amendments can easily be proven a lie. It should also call for a serious reconsideration of your editorial policies and standards.  I think we all enjoy and benefit from reading the Ojo each month, and we know you are not the New York Times (not that they don’t make mistakes, too), but there are basic journalistic standards.

Ted Kassier


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Our Editor Responds:

The information came to us from a long-time reader, and because it did not seem partisan in any way and was instead of the “a pox on all your houses” variety, we tended to give the piece the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps we were also lulled by the fact that the approval rating of the U.S. Congress has rarely if ever been lower. In any case, we should have taken the material through a fact check, and apologize to our readers for not having done so.

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