I know that Rep. John Conyers's "hearing" on the Downing Street memo was a sham, but I also know that those were genuine members of Congress listening to authentic career civil servants and bereaved parents. Is anyone else listening to them? Was Dana Milbank's jaded coverage [Washington Sketch, June 17] appropriate? Can't the august Washington Post do a better job than this?

-- Merrily Helgeson

Leesburg

*

I was disappointed that The Post's only coverage of Rep. John Conyers's hearings on the Downing Street memo and related issues was a mocking piece by Dana Milbank.

In a June 19 Ombudsman column, Michael Getler, in addressing a previous Milbank column [June 8], said that "it has never been announced or explained to Post readers that reporter Milbank is also now columnist Milbank." But it's not the hat that Milbank is wearing that troubles me, it's what he has to say.

Milbank's June 17 column reeked of condescension. What added to my disappointment was that Milbank made a joke (and not a very good one) of the news. I don't know the identity of the "wing nuts" to whom he referred in his June 8 column, but what if they are correct in their assessment that we are in the middle of a major constitutional crisis? It strikes me as a reasonable proposition at this point in our history.

Wouldn't editorial prudence suggest that The Post cover such a story, right in its own back yard, with at least the same degree of seriousness with which it retailed the Bush administration's misrepresentations running up to the attack on Iraq?

Is this a story that your paper (and the rest of us) can afford to miss?

-- David Elwell

Washington