Press: Enemy or watchdog?

An argument can be made that the press is the enemy of not only the people but of the Constitution ("Holding Trump accountable," Tuesday). The press is not serving the people equally. We have a one-sided media that covers up for one party and not only holds the other party to the letter of the law but to the spirit of it. It's a double standard and can be witnessed by anyone with two ears and eyes.

The press sees and filters the news the same way. The American people have only the press to inform them as to what their government is doing, and when the press cheerleads for one side and prosecutes the other, democracy is the victim. This is the quick way to a totalitarian government that quashes any dissent. When you are on the short side of the media's coverage, it becomes much easier to believe that the press is your enemy.

|Fran Steffler, Philadelphia, fsteffler@aol.com

Fighting opioid abuse

The Pennsylvania Medical Society supports a state bill that would require health insurance plans to cover abuse-deterrent opioids. We all must be smart, safe, and sure about using these powerful drugs. While many people have not had issues with opioids as part of a treatment plan, unfortunately there are some who have. And, sadly, those problems can become devastating for the individual and their loved ones.

Abuse-deterrent opioids target the known avenues of abuse, such as crushing to snort or dissolving to inject. While opioids with abuse-deterrent properties are not abuse-proof, they are a step toward reducing abuse.

The formulation of these opioids can be expensive. In specific clinical situations, however, they provide physicians with another tool that can responsibly help patients. As such, House Bill 288 will work to decrease the level of abuse.

The society thanks the bill's sponsor, Rep. Doyle Heffley (R., Carbon), for his concern for public health and his efforts to protect all Pennsylvanians.

|Charles Cutler, M.D., president, Pennsylvania Medical Society, Merion Station, stat@pamedsoc.org

Tension at Friends' Central

We at Friends Council on Education have reviewed all available information regarding Friends' Central School's postponement of the Palestinian-raised speaker Sa'ed Atshan, the placing on paid administrative leave of two teachers, and the school's efforts to move forward ("Friends school tries to defuse speech flap," Tuesday). Most of us do not know all of the facts regarding this story.

The council supports the Quaker nature and character of all 78 Quaker schools in the country. We support and encourage Friends' Central's task force and its goal to "bring together a wide variety of viewpoints . . . and to move toward and embrace the challenges of intellectual discourse with respect and empathy."

We hope the results of this task force will be to continue the school's engagement with those who promote peace, including speakers such as Atshan. The council supports schools in finding ways to have civil discourse and embrace the tensions inherent in difficult dialogue. Such dialogue helps us grow as individuals and communities. As Friends' Central works through these issues, taking time for the Quaker process of discernment, we believe that the community will move forward with all its constituents in a positive spirit.

|Drew Smith, executive director, Friends Council on Education, Philadelphia, info@friendscouncil.org

El-Shabazz is not fit

Let me get this straight. Replacing Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, who has demonstrated that he has ethics issues with money, with former First Assistant District Attorney Tariq El-Shabazz, who has demonstrated his issues with money - to the tune of nearly $191,000 in unpaid taxes - is a good idea ("El-Shabazz tells backers he has flaws but is best," Tuesday)? Sounds like a well-dressed con man to me.

As a city with huge issues to manage, we can and must do better than "leadership" like this.

|Patrick Hauck, Philadelphia