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Letter: Why was Meals on Wheels trip covered differently in Post?

From the large, graphic image of arrows spurting across the nation to the finer print below it, misinformation abounds in the Sept. 8 coverage of Mayor Al Heggins’s travels. The Post’s attempt at clarification failed. Woefully minimal, it allowed that, “The wording in the story was not clear.”

The clarification was neither clear nor was it sufficient.

Did it clearly state that Heggins participated in a phone interview while also offering to supply written responses? If so, how does this bear upon the initial implication that she was being evasive by declining the interview? Inaccuracies regarding the use of public funds were attributed to “incorrect wording” rather than irresponsible reporting. Further context or clarification was not offered.

However, just three days later, a similar situation was covered in a strikingly different manner. Two leaders of Meals on Wheels were acknowledged for traveling to a conference. There was no mention of expenses, who funded the trip or if donors’ money was rightly used. Detailed information is provided about the participants’ contributions and knowledge attained by attending the conference. The decision to make the trip was not questioned.

I am pleased that these leaders were acknowledged for their efforts. I am appalled that Heggins did not receive the same respect. More than facts were at stake in this article. Thus, more than a spare and obscurely placed clarification is in order. Errors in judgment must also be acknowledged.

The Post was remiss in creating suspicion through misguided whistle-blowing and ill-conceived scrutiny. Heggins’ travels were pre-approved and within budget. The only whistle blown here was a dog whistle, heard loudly and clearly. For the record, the public deserves broader clarification. A detailed correction, if not retraction, of the article is warranted.

— Susan Lee

Salisbury

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