I dislike being a wet blanket, but I liked the "old" US News & World Reports much more than the "new" one [Editor's Note: "Elections and Objectivity" September 15-22].
Your "objective" approach is colorless, boring, no edge; no fun to read. It's almost like you regard the minds of your readers as adding machines, or calculators, entities that take in information and dispassionately weigh and evaluate it. On that basis, your Editor's Note: "Elections and Objectivity" makes sense, especially the last part—"...sort through the months' worth of facts, impressions, and etc...." I don't think so. It's the other way around. People like to feel things and that's why they read (and vote) in the first place. When you're looking for something to read, try David Hume's An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals. His bottom line was that morals, like beauty, are felt, not perceived, by tastes and sentiments. And separate of that, any political decision, including casting a vote, is a moral decision. It's all a matter of feeling, and not a matter of logic or analysis.
Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist (retired)
Monroeville , Pa.
I'm writing to applaud your explanation of your philosophy of objectivity and why I will continue to rely on U.S. News & World Report to give me the news I desperately need. Please don't change!
H. D. Skoff
Your comments were refreshing. I subscribe to U.S. News because I find it less imperfect than my former subscriptions. I really don't need or want to be told what to think or how to think. Just tell me what happened and allow me to use my God-given brain to evaluate and analyze the subject. Even your commentators seem to rely more on fact than bias or leanings when they express their opinions. As I said, you're not perfect, just much less imperfect than I find your competitors.
My big concern is why people don't demand to know where the candidates stand on the issues. If we don't know it becomes a popularity contest. The three main issues are: the economy, the energy problem, and the war. We should demand that each candidate talks at length on each issue. You have a great magazine. I have been reading it for many years.
How about we eliminate political parties? Candidates would be elected in the same manner and represent their constituents accordingly. They would hold caucuses, committee meetings, as they wish, but no allegiance to a party. No unnecessary influence, voting as usual and everything the same otherwise. The costs of maintaining the party system would be eliminated. Campaign expenses would be controlled and the time minimized.
You hit the nail on the head when you wrote that pressing candidates about their policies or views is not picking on them. And I agree that should be done, but the perception is there is no sense of balance or fairness. I could submit a list of reporters and even people who dare call themselves journalists who are so pro one candidate that there is very little value in what they say or write. The current media blitz on Sarah Palin is like a runaway train, and it may prove to actually help her in the end because it seems so unfair and at times so personal in its tone.
I strongly agree with your position on objectivity. Sadly, however, in the middle of your editorial page there are three pictures of Obama and only one of McCain. That clearly detracts from your message. Poor choice.
A high school teacher back in the 1950s once recommended U.S. News as a no nonsense news magazine and I have been satisfied since. Kenneth Walsh and Liz Halloran made some good points about the precariousness of passing the presidency on to an unseasoned vice-president ["The Grand Old Party Finds a New Young Voice," September 15-22]. I look forward to their making similar points about electing a well-spoken but also unseasoned candidate for president. Please don't disappoint me.
Larry A. Esquibel
Mountain View, Calif.
I welcome scrutiny from reporters who wish to find and report the facts on all of our candidates for high office, but I do not see this happening in a balanced way. A glaring example: we have worlds of knowledge about John McCain's life and activities over his 72 years, but we have much less about Barack Obama's 47 years, and no one seems to care to look into it. Where are the probing investigations of Obama's career and personal activities? By stark contrast, Sarah Palin's career and life are being hotly investigated at this very moment. Such obvious voids from Obama's past should create a firestorm of curiosity in the minds of objective reporters. There is also the possibility that this information has been obtained, but editors have suppressed it. An objective press would pursue information and present it fairly, so the answer is obvious: there is no interest in objectively on the part of much of the press. U.S. News does a better job than most, which is why I read it, but the public's interest is not served when the press has chosen sides and assists in obscuring rather than revealing truths.
I cancelled a subscription to your competitor for its flagrant creativity and support for the Obama myth. Please continue your informed writings in this age where blogs and fallacious publications distort the readers awareness and conclusions.
Patrick J. Ryan