It’s sad that a columnist (Michael Miner, September 8) is slamming the one reporter (and newspaper) who was writing about the deadly Firestone tires before May 1, 2000. Perhaps he should ask why other papers didn’t follow the Sun-Times stories, or have them first.

The criticism is illogical: One newspaper reports that tires from several manufacturers (including Firestone) appeared to have come apart, causing deadly accidents. The day after the stories appear, NHTSA gets serious. Everyone’s attention is (justifiably) focused on the manufacturer that recalls tires and appears to have the worst problems. So the columnist criticizes that first newspaper (his former newspaper) for failing to write more about Firestone. Perhaps he should instead start a pool on how long it will take other papers to run the headline “Tire problems affect more than Firestone.”

Try this test: Take a moment with the Lexis-Nexis database of news stories, and plug in “Firestone and tire and tread and separation.” If you find a newspaper article before Mark Skertic’s, I’ll buy you a new set of tires for your SUV.

Bill Dedman

Assistant City Editor

Chicago Sun-Times

(I had nothing to do with the writing or editing of Mark’s stories, and certainly don’t speak for the paper; I just don’t like to see a columnist dismissing good work as “incremental.”)