Hearsay is not evidence
Regarding the top front-page headline of the Nov. 14 edition (“Witnesses unveil new evidence in hearings”):
This should have read: “Witnesses unveil new hearsay in hearings”
This distinction is not trivial. Hearsay is not evidence especially when it is the only evidence.
This is a towering example of fake news being peddled as a front page headline.
As a courtesy to your informed readers and as a journalistic imperative for the uninformed, I would suggest four actions:
1. Issue a prompt correction, retraction or clarification, preferably on the front page.
2. Print this letter in the opinion section of your paper preferably on the same day.
3. Provide equal space in future editions of your paper to conservative analysis of the impeachment proceedings.
4. Initiate a complaint to The Associated Press or other sources specifically and generally regarding such practices.
These impeachment proceedings will go down in civics history as a teachable moment. Whether this error was intentional or not is no excuse. You can and should do better.
You owe that to your readers, to yourselves and to your country.
Trump will do it again
President Donald Trump allegedly committed bribery. Bribery is when a “public official ... corruptly demands (or) seeks ... anything of value ... in return for being influenced in the performance of any official act.” Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine and asked a “small favor” of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, to publicly announce investigations into Burisma, Hunter Biden, and Ukrainian interference in U.S. elections.
Even though Zelensky never announced the investigations and the aid was released — and even if there was “no pressure” — bribery was committed when Trump asked for the “small favor” in return for releasing the aid.
What if a city council approved a homeowner’s zoning permit, but the mayor tells the homeowner the permit will be released only in return for one “small favor”?
Answer: Merely seeking anything of value satisfies the conduct requirement of “bribery.”
Trump claims he withheld the aid to force Ukraine to investigate “corruption.” But Trump never demanded any investigation other than what would benefit him personally. The aid was already approved; withholding it didn’t serve U.S. interests.
Trump is like the bank teller who embezzles money and, when caught, claims he wasn’t “stealing” — only testing bank security systems.
What’s worse is that Trump fails to see he did anything wrong. In other words, he’d do it again.
What would a judge do to a public official convicted of bribery who is likely to do it again? Throw the book at him? Make sure that he no longer serves as a public official?
Right day, wrong year
Oh come on. I’m sure you’re going to hear that in your special section Salute, the article “Explore the history of Veterans Day” contained a historical error.
Germany surrendered to the Allies on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 — not 1919 as you noted in the article.
Ironically, even though an armistice/ceasefire was declared, there were 10,000 casualties on that day (3,000 were Americans). World War I officially ended on June 28, 1919, with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.
This is not the only time there have been historical errors in those special sections printed by the Lewiston Tribune.
On Oct. 26, 2018, in your special section, Pioneering Women, you printed an article on Sacajawea titled “She was key to explorers’ success.” I seriously have never read a more poorly written or inadequately researched piece in any format, be it a daily newspaper, weekly or monthly magazine, or particularly within a historical nonfiction journal. I really am thinking the editorial staff should proof-read special section articles for grammatical and historical errors.
To clarify, the article referred to the anniversary of the Nov. 11, 1918, armistice. It does, however, err in noting the date the Treaty of Versailles was signed, June 28, 1919.