To the editor:
I'm writing in response to "U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek visits Houghton" published on July 26, particularly regarding the segment detailing Benishek's help defeating Rep. Amash's amendment to require reasonable suspicion before the NSA may gather metadata on the phone calls of Americans.
Benishek said, "There's more information in the phone book about you than is gathered (in the calls)." Clearly, the phone book reveals neither who I call nor when I call. So, was that a joke, an ignorant outburst, or a bald-faced lie? No informed person honestly communicating with his constituency would utter such nonsense on record. Perhaps there was a follow up to this tripe and Benishek's response devolved into a string of unpublishable obscenities. Otherwise, there's no reason to leave that statement unchallenged, unquestioned, and dutifully printed.
In a functioning democracy, the role of the free press isn't merely to print the pronouncements of public servants.
Good journalism plays an antagonistic role; it challenges obvious falsehoods and clarifies murky rhetoric.
When it fails to do so, journalism serves power, not the people. A paper that prints transparent lies loses legitimacy as a watchdog for the people.