News-Gazette, Champaign, IL Ė October 10, 1999



I take exception to your Oct. 1 front-page story on the killing of civilians during the early days of the Korean War.  This is an excellent example of a newspaper placing bad news on the front page in order to increase sales.  Now that you no longer have any competition, you donít need to use bad news to attract readers.  We and the Germans were the only ones to fight fairly, and there were certainly many instances where we did not fight fairly.  War is sort of like that. 

    In the body of the story, there are conflicting stories.  This is OK, because you printed both.  Who do you suppose was going to be interested in reading the story anyway?  Certainly not the majority of the Champaign County population who are, for the most part, too young to care about the Korean War.  You might check and see how much U.S. school time is devoted to the Korean War.  I doubt more than part of one day. 

    Was this story part of your Freedom of Information Act campaign?  My own thoughts are that while the public has the right to know the facts, the vast majority could care less.  If the facts surrounding the story were suppressed almost 50 years ago, I suggest that there were security and or other good reasons for doing so at that time. 

    USA Today had the story on page 17 of the "A" section, where it belongs, if at all, and their editorial on the following page. 

    As a retired military officer, if I had been faced with similar circumstances, I probably would have given the order to fire if I knew I had no other choice of saving civilian lives.  Suppose I did not and American lives were lost because I did not.  Can you imagine the news story that would appear? 


-         John Frothingham, Tolono, IL