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Coushatta chronicle

"Coushatta chronicle" Continued...

Issue: "Muddy Gras," March 4, 2006

-with reporting by Jamie Dean

Tough questions

By Marvin Olasky

Did Ralph Reed "score" for Jack Abramoff? Since Oct. 31, 2005, reporter Jamie Dean has sought an on-the-record interview with Mr. Reed. He has refused to grant one. But in pursuing the truth about his activities WORLD ran into an unanticipated roadblock put up by an excellent organization.

Focus on the Family vice president Tom Minnery discussed at the start of Dr. James Dobson's Feb. 17 radio show the Jack Abramoff-Ralph Reed scandal and WORLD's coverage of it. Mr. Minnery said about WORLD, "We know the people, they're good people, we enjoy the magazine, but they have a reporter who wanted me to dump on Ralph Reed for his involvement with Jack Abramoff." He said he refused to criticize Mr. Reed and then wrote a complaint letter to WORLD but "they refused to print it. So I've got to tell you, that is frustrating."

Dr. Dobson then summarized what his VP was saying: "You wrote a letter to WORLD magazine. . . . Marvin Olasky, who's a very good man, does very good work, I like him a lot, he refused to do it." Mr. Minnery then read his letter, acknowledged once again his frustration, and Dr. Dobson with a chuckle in his voice said, "Maybe it's just catharsis . . . maybe Tom needs to come in here and do what I did yesterday, which is just blow off steam."

I thank Dr. Dobson for the compliment and can happily return it: He has done terrific work for families and for the nation. WORLD reporter Jamie Dean has also done excellent work in asking tough questions and digging into this scandal. We told Mr. Minnery before the radio broadcast that we'd be glad to put in our Mailbag either statements of fact or vigorous criticism of any ideas expressed in the magazine-but we would not publish an inaccurate attack on Jamie Dean when she had done nothing wrong. In this week's Mailbag, you'll find the portion of the Minnery letter that we gladly publish.

Where do we go from here? First, we admit a mistake we made: Ralph Reed stonewalled us so often regarding an interview 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.

Second, we keep trying to be salt, not sugar. 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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