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After the discovery of a plot to blow up New York's Kennedy airport, Rush Limbaugh complained that the New York Times put the story on page 31 instead of page 1.

The Times is the leading organ of what Limbaugh calls "the drive-by media," that is, all media except TV's Fox News and radio's conservative talk shows. Drive-by media are liberal, biased and superficial.

Well, I'm a user of the drive-by-media. I saw the story on the evening news of NBC, where it got good coverage. I also read about it in the Pantagraph, which got the story from the Associated Press. It also appeared as a follow-up story in the June 18 issue of Time.

On one point I completely agree with the conservative commentators: The struggle with terrorism is real. However, I did not get the idea that because the media allegedly downplayed the story they were in denial about terrorism. Just the opposite: I believe conservatives are in a state of denial.

The very idea of a sleeper cell coming close to blowing up an American airport is scary. The story is further proof that the war in Iraq is not making us safer.

The war together with the scandals of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo have degraded our moral credibility to such an extent that we are no longer able to leverage influence on countries like Iran, China, or Russia - countries that have committed political crimes and human rights abuses.

Furthermore, we are so mired in a losing war that we don't have enough resources, in terms of manpower and materiel, to adequately protect the home front.

The terrorists operate by stealth - e.g. sleeper cells and deception. We need to counter their tactics with stealth -which would require more investment in human intelligence and networking with allies.

Jack A. Hobbs



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