THOMPSON: Great publisher, better man

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In 1979, I was working for Pete and Dellie Thompson as wire editor/occasional editorial writer for The Daily Bee.

Steve Symms, then an Idaho Congressman, did something typically Symmian. Knowing Pete was no admirer of Symms I wrote an editorial criticizing the move in somewhat colorful verbiage.

Pete called me into his office. The look he gave me would have peeled the paint off the office wall if I hadn’t caught the full blast.

To this day I remember his words.

“Steve Symms is an (anatomically-specific vulgarity deleted). And you can write like this about an (vulgarity deleted). But he is also the elected representative of the people of Idaho, and you cannot write like this about the people’s representative.”

Lesson learned. I went on to spend a few more years in small-market newspapers, wrote a few more editorials roasting a few more politicians, and never forgot his wisdom.

I wonder how many other young journalists Pete coached. The profession is better because of his leadership.

DAN DREWRY

Plymouth, Wis.

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