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Reporting on the President's Troubles

I found the article "Character Gap Dogs Clinton" (Aug 3) objectionable for two reasons. First, it suggests that Clinton's guilt or innocence in the Lewinsky case is irrelevant. It posits that opinion polls related to his job-approval rating and his alleged "character gap" may mean the difference between impeachment hearings and a slap on the wrist.

The article succumbs to a very disturbing trend in journalism, namely, reporting based on opinion, not analysis and insight. Our nation is built on laws. Let us hope that whatever the outcome of Starr's investigation, its result is based on a functional legal system and not the whims of media polls.

Second, I find it highly objectionable that the final paragraph of the article compares Clinton's legacy to that of O.J. Simpson's. The person quoted in the article is a self-described business executive and registered Republican, who might have political motives to compare a standing Democratic president accused of perjury to a man accused of murder. But the Monitor colludes with that bias by closing the article with that analogy.

John Rogers

Iowa City, Iowa

This week's Time and Newsweek magazines descended very low in their coverage of the president's personal problems, while the Monitor has remained more civilized.

But, regretfully, the Monitor still treats the president as guilty until proven innocent. The headline "Why Clinton Urged to Clear Air" (Aug. 4) gives the distinct impression that there is something he can say to change everything. If he is innocent, then he has said all he can and there is no need for your story or headline. The story is based on his guilt, a trial in the press. Sadly, many in Congress also want him tried in the press.

Please refrain from using news analysis as headline news.

Thomas Gallant

Waldoboro, Maine

In religion, numbers don't count

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