Why print rumors about Kerry, but not 'substantiated allegations' about Bush?

Question: I noticed today that you carried a story on some unsubstantiated stories about John Kerry. I understand that that is part of politics, but it should be a two-way street. You haven't carried anything on the arrest records contained in GW's military records or the substantiated allegations that he tried to have his guard record cleansed when he ran for governor of Texas. Why haven't you carried those stories? -- John O'Rourke, Spokane

Answer: Now that the presidential campaign is gathering steam, newspapers like ours will be inundated with all kinds of stories about the candidates, many of them focusing on their stands on important issues, their track records as elected officials and decision-makers, their personal characteristics and their private lives. We're not going to pretend that we'll publish every story, every day, especially the ones that our readers have heard about via television or the Web.

Last week, the rumors on the national political scene were fast and furious, especially regarding allegations that John Kerry had had an affair. At the same time, the White House was responding to a torrent of questions about President Bush's duty in the National Guard. Yes, there were also stories about Bush's criminal record, which, as I understand it, had to do with speeding tickets several decades ago. Whatever the case regarding his record, that issue seemed to pale by comparison with others.

Many times, the large volume of significant and important stories available to us is simply overwhelming, and we have to make difficult choices on which stories to publish. As we continue to report on the campaign and the decisions facing this country, we'll focus on the key issues that affect the lives of our readers.

That simply means we'll pay more attention to stories about the economy, education, national security, foreign policy, the environment and other topics. I think if you review our news pages for the past several weeks, you'll find that our editors have done an a good job of selecting the most important stories on topics that most affect this country. -- Gary Graham, managing editor

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