Investigate Kerry, too

Question: Several months ago you ran a front page investigative report on the allegations that George Bush had failed to report to duty while in the Air National Guard. This report was run in The Spokesman-Review, despite the fact that these same charges had been widely discussed during the 2000 election, finding no evidence supporting the claims.

We now have serious allegations disputing John Kerry’s claims of his Vietnam tour. Are you going to offer a similar front page investigative report outlining the charges made against John Kerry? And if you do not have plans to do so is it because of the political leanings of the publisher and the editors of this newspaper; or is there some other specific reason for failing to provide balanced reporting? -- Bruce Redding, Spokane

Answer: John Kerry's record is certainly fair game for debate. President Bush's record would be fair game, too, would the military and White House truly open up the records of his service. Our story attempted to piece together critical details of the President's service that cannot be obtained through records because many of those records have been misplaced or destroyed. Questions remain.

Questions about John Kerry's record are arguable precisely because his service record is open to inspection and review. We've reported on the recent attacks on Sen. Kerry's service and we've reported on his responses. Until all of the records dealing with the President's service are made available, similarly informed debate is not possible.

As to the political leanings of the paper and the publisher...our editorial board has yet to decide on a presidential endorsement for 2004. I can't predict at all who we might endorse. The paper did endorse candidate Bush in 2000. The news staff's political leanings are not known to me. We don't discuss them in the newsroom and all news staffers are prohibited from engaging in any political activity. -- Steve Smith, editor

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