We see subtle bias in photo selection all too often in the news pages.
The Page 1 photo of Gov. Mark Dayton shows a smiling, self-assured DFL candidate, while GOP challenger Jeff Johnson looks troubled (“Dayton, Johnson battle on schools,” Sept. 1). It is very subtle, but this type of disparity is repeated all too often, especially at election time.
NORMAN HOLEN, Richfield
Eric Dean’s death should lead to change
At first I did not want to read the front-page article “The boy they couldn’t save” (Aug. 31), but I was drawn to the heartbreaking photo of Eric Dean’s battered face. The article should be required reading for every member of Minnesota’s House and Senate Health and Human Services Policy Committees. Despite numerous reports of child abuse by his day care providers and special-education teachers, investigations by Pope County child protection professionals, and doctors’ suspicions, the system failed to protect Eric Dean.
The article states that of the 15 abuse reports filed on behalf of Eric, nine were “screened out” — closed without investigation. Statewide, agencies failed to follow up on 71 percent of suspected maltreatment reports, giving Minnesota one of the highest rates in the country. This should be shocking to all of us. We must do a better job of protecting vulnerable children. Perhaps one way would be to require mandatory investigation by the police when there is a report of suspected child abuse.
INGE CHAPIN, New Brighton
They’re really different in three key ways
Ferguson and Gaza are worlds apart in ways ignored by the headline and commentary from Naomi Shihab Nye (“Ferguson, Palestine aren’t so different,” Aug. 30). Here are three fundamental differences that are critical to understanding the barriers to improving the lives of residents in both places: (1) Gazans elected Hamas, which explicitly calls for the total destruction of the entire country of Israel. Protesters in Ferguson seek to build community and destroy racism and inequality; (2) Hamas has a heavily armed militia, which has been firing rockets at Israeli citizens for years. Protesters in Ferguson have peacefully demanded change from their elected officials and police force, and (3) In Gaza, Hamas uses women and children as human shields. In Ferguson, men, women and children stand together demanding equity and safety for all.
Solutions to these two crises may be elusive, but the search must begin with facts rather than distortions of reality.
LEE FRIEDMAN, Golden Valley
• • •
Thank you for publishing the splendid commentary by Naomi Shihab Nye.
If they looked, news writers and the U.S. administration would find they have the sequence wrong. It is Israeli oppression that provokes Hamas violence. Rather than defending itself, Israel is the aggressor/oppressor against whom Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank are defending themselves.
The best thing the United States could do is acknowledge this, stop defending “Israel’s right to defend itself,” and stop sending weapons and money to support the ongoing oppression. Then, perhaps, continuing talks could lead to substantive changes necessary for a just, enduring peace. It’s worth trying.
FLORENCE STEICHEN, St. Paul
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.