Why do you think the press gave the Bush Administration a free pass on the misleading statements it made to get us into the war in Iraq? Randal Davis, PORTLAND, ORE.
It was partly the insatiable desire for scoops people in the Administration were feeding about the potential threat in Iraq. But a lot of it was just that we floated along with the conventional wisdom, the worst enemy of journalism.
Bearing in mind the popularity and competitive nature of online journalism, do you think print media still have a future? Chukwunwikezarramu Okumephuna, LONDON
I think this talk about the death of newspapers is a little exaggerated. While online is clearly more and more the future, print has a lot of life left in it.
You recently appeared as part of a Daily Show segment that treated the paper as a comical anachronism. How do you respond to those who seem eager for newspapers to die out? Tommy Giglio, CHICAGO
Well, that's the last time I try to be a good sport. Even my wife told me that I looked faintly ridiculous, and she was trying to make me feel better. Among the people who would miss us most would be the wise-guy pundits and scriptwriters for satirical TV shows, because they riff on the news we produce.
In your view, what's the most important story that's currently underreported? J. Bow, CANTON, OHIO
The war in Iraq, because it's very expensive and dangerous to cover. A lot of news organizations don't maintain bureaus there anymore.
The Times had no problem leaking state secrets, claiming the truth required that they be published. Yet it had no qualms lying about the kidnapping of one of its reporters to protect his safety. What is the difference? Bob Dame CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA.
The fact is, we sometimes withhold information from print either because we're convinced that publishing it would put lives at risk or to protect national security. We've done that not only in the case of [kidnapped reporter] David Rohde but other kidnappings as well. We've done it in the case of state secrets. But we can't surrender to the government all the decision-making power.
What do you think about the pressure Iran puts on journalists? Eduardo Chikui SAO PAULO, BRAZIL
It's ultimately self-destructive. Iran has both forced foreign journalists out of the country and attempted to shut down the work of Iranian journalists. In the long run, this will have a very corrosive effect on the Iranian government.
Do you think there should always be freedom of the press? Simon Costello, AUSTRALIA
I don't think that there is absolute freedom of the press. We operate under laws--against libel, for instance. The idea that there is some absolute press freedom is kind of a myth.
Do reporters avoid writing unflattering things about sources? Ray Gambel, NEW ORLEANS
There's no question that sources sometimes have interests aside from the truth when they talk to reporters. That's why reporters have to very aggressively report against their own theses and against their initial information. One of the most important disciplines in journalism is to challenge your working premises.
Should journalists strive to present ideas as balanced, regardless of the actual credibility of either side? Jonathan Silver, PHILADELPHIA