The Oct. 29 editorial "Mr. Libby's Indictment" affirms the principle that to "criminalize . . . discussions between officials and reporters would run counter to the public interest." On Page A8, an article by Howard Kurtz on the media deals with "Journalists Treated as Eyewitnesses." It quotes Mark Feldstein, George Washington University professor of media and public affairs, who asserts that the indictment "strips bare that what reporters often learn is officially managed, spinned news. It tends to make the reporters look like receptacles for very self-interested leaks, which is how the game is often played."

That same day I did a search on The Post's Web site of the paper's news content. "Condition of anonymity" was cited in 89 articles during the previous 14 days covering various subjects.

Obviously, the risk that the cloak of anonymity may be used to exploit the media in order to undermine, rather than advance, the public interest is more than an occasional danger. As recent history testifies, several of the nation's most prominent media outlets have been victimized, and the good faith and trust accorded them correspondingly diminished.

What can The Post do to counter such threats and maintain its reputation as a guardian of the public interest? Would self-examination be a worthwhile initiative, with resulting courses of action shared with readers?

-- Albert S. Glickman



The Oct. 25 news story "Husband Is Conspicuous in Leak Case" did not mention that:

* Even if the claims that Republicans make about supposed inaccuracies in Joseph Wilson's accounts are true, this does not justify outing a CIA agent.

* Even if the claims that Republicans make about supposed inaccuracies in Wilson's accounts are true, this is not a defense against criminal charges.

The article could have been much shorter had your reporters not repeated Republican spin and merely stated that the Republican spin on this matter is irrelevant for the above reasons.

-- Mike Lauderdale