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Jun-12-2007 04:15printcomments

Lieberman's Suggestion to Bomb Iran Draws Fire and Support

An Op-Ed on Lieberman Monday led to a record day for, with 34,441 unique visitors in 24-hours.

Bomb exploding
The reality of war
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(SALEM, Ore.) - An opinion piece about Joe Lieberman's suggestion that the U.S. consider bombing Iran drew substantial input from Web viewers Monday.

Courtesy: CNN

The story was on the cover of the Google News page for hours starting just after 4:00 AM. It drew a whirlwind of both criticism and praise, with comments that ranged from "Mr. Lieberman shame, you should be ashamed of yourself trying to feed the American people bunch of garbage," to "I agree with Mr. Lieberman. Iran is our deadly enemy, and war with them seems inevitable."

Those were some of the tame comments. I wrote the article because the notion of attacking Iran is obviously a hot button topic, and because it is interesting to see the reaction that people have to these developing issues.

This statement seemed to sum up the opinions of the group of responders who believe a military strike may be the only way to deal with Iran:

"Sooner or later Iran will have to be confronted. Hitting their oil refineries and blockading the tankers delivering fuel will bring about a regime change, and then make it unnecessary for them to wipe Israel off the map, and attack America, as Ahmadinejad has openly stated he will do. Not too many people seem to believe him. I do."

Others who don't agree with the Senator's thinking might be well characterized by this passage:

"It's entirely possible J.L. has the onset of Alzheimer's, as well as cowardice to protect his own position and personal fortune. I'm ill with all the triple talking bastards, if they want to throw grenades and drop bombs they can do it! Our kids are not yours!!. They make me ill, their supremest outlook is for their own benefit, go to hell Joe!"

So, of the 19,410 people who read the opinion-editorial on Lieberman, 144 sent in comments, and 96 sent in emails. I learned how a reporter spends his day when his email address is posted at the bottom of a story that stays on the top page of Google News all day.

In the broadcast world, we have a belief about interactive programming, ranging from call in shows to DJ requests; that is that several hundred to several thousand listeners or viewers exist for every one that calls in. The number of course depends on market size and population.

With an Internet news story, the reader can send the reporter an email and they can usually post a comment. This changes the ratio from call-in shows, it is easier to reach us and leave a comment, but we can still figure that 144 comments is some reflection of what people are thinking.

Independent Senator Joe Lieberman

We analyzed the 144 comments on the story and this is what we found:

46 people responding support Joe Lieberman and the idea of a military strike on Iran.

89 of the people who responded do not support Lieberman's suggestion that the U.S. should take military action against Iran.

That amounts to almost twice the number of responding people stating that they are against the idea of a military strike on Iran.

Some comments were not specifically clear; 9 "undecided" comments seemed to be fairly evenly divided over Lieberman's suggestion to attack Iran.

Some of the comments echoed the growing chorus of voices that belong to veterans, yet fail to outwardly support military force as anything but a last resort: "As a retired soldier who saw more war than he wanted to, I have a difficult time seriously considering widening the present conflict. We may, in fact, have to deal with Iran militarily one day. But I think such talk is pre-mature and takes the focus off the existing mission. Support our troops and what they do! That would help a lot."

Perhaps the most frustrating thing from a journalist's point of view, is the immediate flood of email that accuses the writer of being anti-Semitic if we criticize a politician like Lieberman who has such close ties to Israel. That is a hard thing to take for those of us who strive to see more racial equality in this country.

Some of the comments referenced this as a question of where Lieberman's loyalties are; saying that the (I) after his name stands for Israel, not Independent.

Others say nobody should be surprised that an American politician supports a longtime ally like Israel.

Sadly, many of the comments and emails seem to carry condemning overtones toward the Islamic people, suggesting that there is an inevitable world war that will be the culmination of it.

Many people comment about how "they have been fighting for thousands of years over there" in reference to the Middle East, conversely other cultures use the exact same reference for Anglo Saxon Christians who along with Catholics, have indeed been fighting for hundreds of years, and before that there were the Celtics, pagans, etc.

What I learned while covering the war in Afghanistan last winter was that the vast majority of Muslim people are just simple human beings with the same basic needs as people of any culture or faith in any corner of the world.

Americans and others who believe that vast numbers of Islamic people are waging a plot against western civilization need to remember that all of the soldiers in the Afghan Army who serve side by side with our soldiers are Islamic. Every single aspect of that country is 100% Islamic.

It was the Taliban extremists who brought the increased suppression of women to Afghanistan, and most Muslims will tell you that the Taliban represent little of the teachings of their real faith.

Here is the Opinion-Editorial by Tim King that ran Monday on Lieberman's Demands for War in Iran are Cowardly

Reporter Tim King and Oregon Gov.
Ted Kulongoski in Afghanistan, late 2006

Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with almost twenty years experience as a television news producer, photojournalist and reporter. He has several years in TV news with stations in southern Arizona, Las Vegas and Portland, Oregon. Tim has won numerous awards from the Associated Press and other organizations. Today in addition to his roles as a war correspondent, reporter and photojournalist, he serves as's Executive News Editor and is available via email at:

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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Tom Nelson June 12, 2007 6:41 pm (Pacific time)

The Salem News is to be commended for its responsible journalism and its opening up these critical topics to debate and discussion. Although some of the comments were less than helpful (primarily those involving attacks on persons, not ideas), it was refreshing to see the comments develop. Congrats, and keep it up!

Henry Ruark June 12, 2007 11:54 am (Pacific time)

This is the kind of solid, responsible journalism missing so obviously from so many other "media outlets" today. Notice you learned the real meaning of responses from the facts of how they read-out --which cannot but make you wonder why we ever allowed our nation to be sucked into this destructive maw bleeding away lives, dollars and the future of some many fine youngsters.

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.

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