In a column (Forum,, Saturday, Oct 1) (TV station's call for clinic volunteers short-sighted), Roxane Salonen writes, "As a journalist myself, I know, despite public perception, that thoughtful, fair, ethical reporters still exist." She's right. Thoughtful, fair and ethical is the definition of a good journalist. There are many of them. Few people enter the news business that don't share those ideals.

She's wrong, however, to count herself among their ranks.

Most thoughtful, fair and ethical reporters don't brag about spending week after week harassing women outside a women's clinic or wonder aloud if non-religious people can be happy. It's hardly thoughtful to call a short TV news report-which was fairly balanced with its inclusion of the Catholic's 40 Days of Life campaign, (the reason for the need for more escorts at Red River Women's Clinic!)-a "stab in the heart."

It's a stretch to use the report as a news hook, especially by attacking the benign story and, in doing so, attacking the young journalist, Dominique Brogle, who wrote the thing. How do I know it's benign? I read past the headline.

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Is it worth it being a jerk-whether Salonen meant it or not here-just to have a lead in to the sort of hackneyed talking points that have been made since Roe v. Wade? And anyway, the whole thing shouldn't take 15 paragraphs to get to the real point: Salonen had some self-promotion to tell us about.

Let's get real here, folks: Salonen is the church gossip columnist who also happens to be a terrible writer. She's got a streak of spiteful columns under her belt at this point, though she hides under her obliviousness when she writes dumb, harmful things. There's zero self-reflection in any of her pieces, just blah blah blah.

I'm not a religious man, myself, but I do know that there are quite a few thoughtful, eloquent religious people. They just don't happen to write in The Forum, unfortunately. That said, I do think the paper of record ought to print a variety of opinions that capture the zeitgeist-even the banal, annoying and stupid ones.

Keep on writing, Roxane, but please spare us the ostentatious descriptions of yourself.

Echola lives in Fargo.