Archive for Sunday, April 12, 1998

INTEGRITY CRISIS?

April 12, 1998

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To the editor:

Skimming Tuesday's Public Forum letters, I noticed that a friend of mine was in the crosshairs of a medium caliber letter to the editor. I had not yet read Mr. Krishtalka's column on global warming, but after having read Mr. Schmidt's literary execution of it, I had to.

I did read Sunday's ``So much not air...'' column. I found it to be one of the most pointed pieces Mr. Krishtalka has written to date. Not a lot of space to read between the lines. In a small room, Mr. Schmidt and Mr. Krishtalka could probably produce enough gas to cause a serious change in the weather patterns. Each side with their sails billowing with swirling facts and scientific data.

At issue with me is the last line of Mr. Schmidt's letter that refers to an ``integrity crisis.'' What is the meaning of that phrase? Is Mr. Schmidt implying that Mr. Krishtalka should receive a check from Kyoto if he writes a column supporting the theories of one side of the isle? Does Mr. Schmidt think in Mr. Krishtalka's office there is a red phone that rings directly to the desk of Al ``Mr. Ozone'' Gore? What is the meaning of that potshot, ``integrity crisis,'' and does it apply to Leonard Krishtalka or his opinion column?

Part of the risk assumed in his columns is that his opinions could be offensive to someone and that they will draw criticism. Mr. Krishtalka's opinions have served him well through the years. How else does a person become the director of the National History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center at Kansas University? No doubt Mr. Krishtalka knows what he believes, believes what he knows and is open to criticism. If it is the opinion of Mr. Krishtalka that lacks integrity, then show me an opinion that is completely free of holes. The idea that day is light and night is dark isn't even universally true.

The crisis, as I think it applies here, is the need to attack a person because of an opinion that is not shared. I hope Mr. Schmidt isn't implying that Mr. Krishtalka is lacking integrity. The implications are that Mr. Krishtalka is somehow less than moral or untrustworthy. That is not the Krishtalka I know.

Michael Combest,

Baldwin.

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