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Writer's points are questioned

September 1, 2013
Weirton Daily Times

To the Editor,

My title for this letter would be "Back to school."

It's time to go back to school, Rob Denham. The subjects at hand today are geometry and journalistic ethics.

In your letter to the editor "Interesting parallel in Zimmerman case" of July 28, the writer referred to an "interesting parallel" between the Zimmerman-Martin case and that of a Roderick Scott and 17-year-old Christopher Cervini.

In order to draw a parallel, one must first understand what a parallel is. According to Mr. Webster, a parallel is lines in the same direction but always separated by the same distance. An example would be an equal sign or perhaps a railroad track.

After reading Sharon Davis Green's letter in the Aug. 11 edition ("Apples to oranges,") it becomes obvious that Denham's understanding of either geometry or journalistic ethics is severely limited. This much is painfully clear by even the most perfunctory or casual search on your computer.

The geometric shape that Denham should have related to the reader should have been tangential. Webster describes this as two lines touching at one point but never intersecting. An example would be a backward sign.

If we applied this concept to the above-mentioned railroad track, the equal sign would be perfectly acceptable. The shape of a tangent would not.

A tangent track would lead to one big, old train wreck, which is, in fact, what the writer has here. A very big train wreck. Is this clear?

If, on the other hand, the writer's understanding of geometry is in tact and viable, then we must look to the subject of journalistic ethics.

Letters to the editor are, in large part, opinions, and we all have the right to our own, but for an opinion to be formed and be useful, it must have some basis in fact.

The facts of the two cases are world's apart. This would lead us in the direction of credibility. If a writer misleads and lies to the reader, his or her credibility is in jeopardy.

If a letter writer misleads the public in an effort to support his own foregone conclusions, then, by logic, the reader must view all subsequent writings with skepticism. The intellectually curious reader is simply forced into this pattern.

Honest problem solving requires honest questions, honest thoughts, true facts and a desire to fairly determine correct solutions, not to merely support his or her own paradigm.

Bob Atkinson

Weirton

 
 

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