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Thursday, March 17, 2005

A Reader's Letter to the Washington Post

In reporting on Sen. Harry M. Reid's criticism of Alan Greenspan [front page, March 5], Dana Milbank and Nell Henderson engage in a common reportorial ploy- framing the issue. Their first sentence: "Questioning the wisdom of Alan Greenspan in political Washington is akin to challenging the integrity of the pope in Rome, so figures in both parties agreed yesterday that the top Senate Democrat's description of the Federal Reserve Board chairman as a 'political hack' was a blunder."

This diverts attention from the reasoning implicit in Reid's action - what was he criticizing and why. It steers the reader toward the concept that Reid was wrong to criticize Greenspan and away from the possibility that the criticism may have been warranted. And saying that "figures in both parties" agreed the criticism was a blunder, while failing to provide even one supporting quote from a Democratic figure, makes their framework more suspect and tarnishes an otherwise fine report.

- Rogelio F. Arteaga
El Paso

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