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Abramoff/Reed scandal

"Abramoff/Reed scandal" Continued...

There's lots more, but you can see (and do check out the huge Senate hearing file yourself) why WORLD's reporter, Jamie Dean, asked Focus on the Family tough questions. Dr. Dobson did not agree to an interview, but when Focus vice president Tom Minnery sent a letter to WORLD complaining about Jamie's questioning, I wrote back on Feb. 8 that "I have found Jamie Dean to be an outstanding reporter. She is accurate and also has the bulldog determination that reporters need when digging into a story whose principals may be covering up wrongdoing."

My email message to Mr. Minnery noted that "We'll be glad to put this part of your letter in the Mailbag: 'Focus on the Family enters the sad Abramoff story only because we fought the same casino at the same time. We did it because gambling hurts families -- and, as always, we used our own money. Our trusted Louisiana allies, Tony Perkins and Gene Mills, alerted us to this fight, not Abramoff or Reed.'" Our editor, Mindy Belz, also told Mr. Minnery that we would run that part of his letter, and it was set two days ago for the Mailbag of the issue scheduled to go to press on Feb. 23.

As my Feb. 8 email also noted, "Our Mailbag pages regularly contain vigorous criticism of the ideas WORLD expresses and our acknowledgment of the mistakes we make. But I cannot see Jamie's dogged questioning as a mistake." That's still my sense: She was doing her job, and doing it well.

For nearly twenty years now this magazine has aspired to tell our readers the truth about actions that do not glorify God. We often fall short, but we keep trying to be salt, not sugar. That gets some folks mad at us at times, but by God's grace Jamie and the rest of us will continue to do our job.

Where do we go from here? First, the focus is on Ralph Reed. Since Oct. 31, 2005, Jamie has sought an on-the-record interview with him. He has refused to grant one. Here's the one mistake we have made in this affair: We had been stonewalled so often in our attempts to interview Mr. Reed that we stopped trying, and did not ask him about the potential prosecution in Texas that he might be facing ("Focus on the finances," Feb. 4). That was our error: His refusal to answer questions did not relieve us from the obligation of giving him the opportunity to comment on possible legal action.

That lapse makes us redouble our determination to keep questioning Mr. Reed and others. We hope that Focus on the Family will join us in insisting that Mr. Reed stop dodging and start explaining why his emails to Jack Abramoff stated that he was negotiating with Focus. Our sense is that Dr. Dobson is telling the truth, and our logical conclusion is that someone else was not.

One room at the National Press Club in Washington bears the name of John Peter Zenger, a Christian newspaper editor who in 1735 exposed corruption among those powerful enough to put him in jail. We are not worthy to be his successors if we don't ask tough questions for fear of losing ad revenue and circulation. By pushing hard we risk a lot every day, because publications need money to stay in business, but what profiteth any of us if we receive big or little checks garnered through manipulation or dishonesty?

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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