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Cooke Case Makes Teaching Right, Wrong Much Harder

I just read the story by Elaine Dutka about ex-journalist Janet Cooke and the media frenzy about her return to the public forum (“Janet Cooke’s Life: The Picture-Perfect Tale,” May 28). I normally don’t pay attention to these types of stories, but this one bothered me tremendously.

I am a black parent in a constant struggle with teenage children about right and wrong, working hard and doing the right thing, regardless of what they see in the media about people getting away with constant wrongdoing. I have to tell you, the Janet Cooke story didn’t help my cause at all. To be fair, I believe Cooke deserves a second chance in life, God knows we all do, but the perpetuation of another wrongdoing being rewarded with money and fame does not help the efforts of parents trying to teach basic right and wrong. There was a time when the lesson of crime (moral or civil) doesn’t pay was a sufficient civil proverb, but as my kids continue to point out to me, “Dad, this is old-school--criminals (major and minor) get paid every day, so working hard, being honest may be what you want us to do, but you can get paid either way.”

CARL JACKSON

Memphis, Tenn.

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