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Since when does politics rear its ugly head in news reporting/commentary journalism, which prides itself on objectivity, and should be fastidiously objective?

The Jan. 26 headline “Fact Check: Obama ideas collide with reality” could infer just a few ideas to all of the ideas in President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address and thus negate the value of the entire speech. The Associated Press’ Calvin Woodward wrote as if the speech was not aware of “political realities,” “wishful thinking,” and “recycling of ideas,” as if there is something wrong with that. Has he never heard of “if you don’t at first succeed, then try and try again”? Obviously it’s a “should be” for Obama.

Former President Jimmy Carter used to be fond of the phrase “what ought to be.”

All of this clinks of partisan politics. Don’t we have enough in the “do nothing” (and ranked the lowest probably in history in polls) Congress not to get it again in journalism? Do we get a hint of “yellow journalism” here because it’s “throwing cold water” on what others consider (see the two commentaries in the same paper, “Obama address aimed at blue-collar voters” and “Without effort on his part, Obama’s vows will fade”)? And obviously myself being a retired Department of Defense Dependents Schools social studies teacher, a brilliant piece of oratory that was also brilliantly delivered.

Notice I used the word “oratory,” and not “rhetoric” like Woodward did, which is taking on a negative connotation in today’s political warfare.

Need I ask with which political party Woodward is affiliated? His was a “Fact Check” fully negative and completely devoid of positives.

John D. Mutch

Grafenwöhr, Germany

Alternative to denying R & R

I am a member of a National Guard unit wrapping up a one-year activation, nine months of which was spent in Kabul. Our replacements — also a National Guard unit — are here, just beginning their nine months. While we were able to enjoy a 15-day R & R during our tour, to go home and see our families and recharge our batteries, our replacements will be denied this luxury.

I do not purport to be an arbiter of what constitutes a right and proper government expenditure or what constitutes a right and proper spending cut; that is the job of Congress, not an E-6. However, it is completely fair for me to look upon this choice by our Congress and the Department of Defense as a reflection of the values of both.

Subsequently, it is my opinion that the lavish benefits and lengthy vacations of Congress and civilian DOD members should have been trimmed before deployed soldiers were asked to spend nine months in a war zone with only a four-day pass as a respite. I do not mean to equate R & R with an entitlement — it is a privilege — but when weighing the value of my R & R against an extra recess for a congressman, or a reduced copayment to a civilian who never leaves the Pentagon, the choice is clear to me where the cut would come.

Staff Sgt. Nathan McNulty

Camp Phoenix, Afghanistan

Stripes in 7

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