Sun misleads in sensationalized Werdesheim coverage

February 21, 2011

I realize that a daily newspaper such as The Sun often will sensationalize stories, and fail to report them within their context, but ("Protesters gather as brothers plead not guilty in beating," Feb. 17) was simply irresponsible journalism. Framing the Werdesheim case as one of "blacks vs Jews" is unhelpful, destructive of our social fabric and, most importantly, untrue.

Who were the demonstrators? On one side were residents of Upper Park Heights. On the other side were a handful of people whose signs identify them as a "working-class party that fights against capitalism." They are imported trouble-makers with an invented grievance.

Upper Park Heights is a mixed community, where many different people live side by side. Homeowners of all colors and creeds share the desire to live in security. The organization called Shomrim is there to help whenever someone calls for it — whether that person is black or white, Jewish or Baptist. Nobody wants to live in fear for their life and property, and Shomrim has helped provide a safer environment with fewer burglaries, fewer assaults, and folks who come immediately and start searching to help find a missing child.

We cannot expect the police to be everywhere all the time, and we cannot expect them to care about our neighborhoods as much as we do.

Shomrim is nothing more or less than a community organization where people roll up their sleeves to help each other.

If The Sun wanted to report this story properly, it would do so in

context. That requires reminding readers of all the violent assaults and property crimes in Baltimore, and how crime eats away at the peace of mind of law abiding citizens. There is a reason Baltimore is losing its tax base while citizens move out, and it is not because of racial tensions.

The Sun should report how organizations like Shomrim have been commended, time and again, for helping the police do their job. And the paper should not ignore the "silent majority" of black citizenry, including thousands of families in Upper Park Heights, who want precisely the same thing that Jewish citizens do — neighborhoods where people can work and live in peace.

Janet Cohen, Baltimore

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