The memo: Saying what goes without saying

By noon on Sunday, we realized Publisher Sherman Frederick's rebuke of Sen. Harry Reid's remark — "I hope you go out of business" — was going viral. Drudge has linked to it. The number of comments on the Web site beneath the column was already over a thousand.

Lightning was striking the lightning rod.

Realizing that sometimes what goes without saying needs to be said, I sent out a memo to the staff reminding everyone of how we do business.

This is what I wrote:

"As you may be aware by now, Sherm's column on Harry Reid was picked up by the Dudge Report. By noon Sunday his column had 1,640 comments posted online and he had received 600 e-mails. Additionally, there have been a number of blog postings across the Internet.

"He and I want you all to know that no matter what Sherm may say in a column or what the editorial page might write, we expect the news side of the paper to continue to treat Harry Reid and his representatives the same as you would any other person we cover.

"I know people can be difficult to work with after criticism from the opinion pages. Let them know that we assiduously maintain the separation between news and editorial.

"Reid and his staff in the past have given us the silent treatment, but we will not reciprocate. Our readers deserve fair, accurate and thorough coverage of our elected officials.

"If you run into problems let me know."

In the past few days a number of people have accused the paper of allowing its editorial stance to influence its news coverage. We do our utmost to not let that happen, unlike some publications I can name.

By the way, Sherman had a previously scheduled meeting with Sen. Reid on Tuesday. It was off the record and he will not disclose what was said, but he did tell The Associated Press. "Things can get pretty intense sometimes in some public disagreements, but that doesn't necessarily translate into personal disagreements."