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Your Views: Regular media is too full of bias to trust with truth
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In their Saturday column, "Rooting out Web rumors can be quite a task," Cokie and Steve Roberts launch an attack on "Web rumors." The Internet is certainly loaded with erroneous information. Of course, there is truth on the Internet that the mainstream media would prefer that we didn't see, and they certainly will not tell us.

I have to take exception, however, to the Roberts' comments about "media mediation." They state: "Without the persistent truth-telling, fact-checking efforts of well-trained professionals, falsehoods can flourish." They further state: "There is more need than ever for independent, fair-minded, journalist who can sort through those voices to help voters decide who can be trusted, and who cannot."

Now let me get this straight. We are to trust the left-leaning media to tell us the truth, what to think and who we can and cannot trust? Where are those truth-telling and fair-minded journalists? Certainly not to be found among the mainstream media.

Do the American people really need to be spoonfed by the media? I don't think so. I believe that I can sort things out all by myself, thank you. We need to get the undistorted truth from somewhere, but we certainly won't get it from them.

Let's look at a couple examples of how the media has been presenting the "facts." When Sarah Palin became John McCain's running mate, the media went into a feeding frenzy in an attempt to discredit her. When they couldn't find anything but nits to pick, they attacked her qualifications.

Not once have I heard any of the mainstream media asking questions about Barack Obama's qualifications and Palin is substantially better qualified than he is. Why not? Why the double standard? Could it have to do with a liberal media agenda?

What about guns? The media is quick to talk about "gun violence." But when was the last time anyone has seen anything positive about guns from the mainstream media? How many times do we read about the legally armed citizen who risked life and limb to thwart a crime in progress and possibly save lives in the process?

In most cases, if we do hear about such a case, the legally armed citizen is portrayed as a gun-slinging vigilante rather than a hero. The mainstream media can't get enough of the blood and gore caused by "evil guns," but just can't seem to find anything positive to report, though guns are legally used defensively over 2 million times each year the United States.

It is time for the media to get back to the reporting of facts and only the facts. I don't want or need their opinions and I don't care about their agendas. Their job is to present an unbiased report of the news.
Unfortunately, the mainstream media has been tweaking the facts to suit their agenda. If the facts don't fit their agenda, we just don't hear about them. They lie by omission.

Jerry Callahan
Braselton

Furlough fiasco is a threat to public safety
Right on the heels of the announcements that Hall County can "celebrate" the opening of North Hall fire stations No. 2 and No. 15 (Times of Sept. 22) and the addition of an ambulance to Station No. 14 "to better serve Hall County residents," these extremely capable firefighters and emergency medical service EMTs are slammed with a county-mandated furlough.

Essential public safety agencies should be exempt from this cost-cutting, but life and property threatening, mandate. Chief Kimbrell, Fire Marshal Scott Cagle and Lt. Jeff Vinson exercised great restraint in their responses to the news when speaking with The Times.

My first reaction was, "well ...." My second reaction was wondering if unplanned fires, chest pains, multiple traumas etc., had gotten the news: "Say, could you guys cool it for awhile? You know, until our fire stations are allowed to be adequately staffed again?" Insert a collective sigh here from those who know the impact of this decision, the lack of insight by those who made it.

That being said, I do know one thing to be true. No matter how overworked, underpaid or exhausted, the dedicated personnel at Hall County Fire and Emergency Services will continue, 24 hours a day, every day, to do the best humanly possible to rush to the aid of every citizen under their watch and care. You can bet your life on it.

Mimi Bowden
Gainesville

Thanks to volunteers who helped clean city
I would like to thank every volunteer who came out to help clean up and beautify Flowery Branch on Saturday. We had more than 125 volunteers, many from other cities, show up to help us. A very special thanks to George Wangemann, a Gainesville City councilman, Beverly Howerton from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and Cindy Reed, the Executive Director of Keep Hall Beautiful, for their devotion in putting this event together.

We've had cleanup days for many years, but none so successful as this one. Many volunteers combed the city looking for trash, while others planted flowers throughout the city at every "Welcome to Flowery" Branch sign. One volunteer even brought his tiller to plant a circle of flowers behind the Train Depot.

I was sorry I had to leave to attend another meeting, but later drove through the city to see their accomplishments. You should all be so proud to have been a part of this amazing group. They honored me with a bouquet of roses, when I should have been the one passing out the acclamations.

I cannot end without thanking the dedicated Flowery Branch employees who also turned out to help. Our city is truly blessed to have so many wonderful friends. These people gave up their day to pick up other people's trash. If there was no trash to pick up, we would have more time to plant flowers. Please remember that the next time you want to throw something out your car window.

Diane Hirling
Mayor, Flowery Branch

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