Letters To The Editor


April 24, 2003

Consolidation of ownership limits voices

Weakening public safeguards on media ownership will hurt democracy - and journalism. And The Sun's editorial "Many voices" (April 20) failed to acknowledge the many critical studies filed at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that document how eliminating the rule promoting diversity of newspaper and local TV station ownership would harm the public.

That's why the vast majority of organizations representing print and TV news writers - including the Newspaper Guild and writers guilds - support retaining the rules.

Despite new forms of media such as the Internet, most Americans still receive most of their news from newspapers and television.

Having a single owner in a community who controls its newspaper, several radio and TV stations, the local cable system and the broadband service provider would threaten the First Amendment rights of the public.

Finally, the editorial should have been more forthcoming about lobbying efforts by The Sun's parent company, Tribune, on the rule.

Tribune is leading the effort to dismantle these safeguards. A full reporting on the Tribune's political efforts on media ownership is in order.

Jeff Chester


The writer is executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy.

Vikan's resignation sends strong signal

As Baltimoreans, we are immensely proud of Gary Vikan, the director of the Walters Art Museum, for standing on principle and resigning from the President's Advisory Committee on Cultural Property ("Cultural leaders protest looting," April 18).

After he and other committee members urged the Bush administration to protect the irreplaceable Mesopotamian art objects in the Iraqi museums and libraries, the administration apparently did nothing at all to prevent the looting and possible destruction of these antiquities.

The insensitivity of the Bush administration to what this loss entails to world history and culture is appalling.

Robert E. MacDonald


Students not duped into opposing war

Gregory Kane attributes what he calls anti-American sentiments expressed by students at Polytechnic Institute to a cadre of leftist teachers ("Deprived of the basics in education, today's students are left to flounder," April 19).

But the fact is that these students came to their positions by observing what is happening in their world. They don't really need teachers or parents to convince them that U.S. activities in Iraq do not constitute a just war.

If only we did have a cadre of leftist teachers or even leftist journalists - another modern myth. Then perhaps fewer people would be willing to ignore such things as the separation of church and state and freedom of speech.

We might not have the spectacle of congressmen who don't support President Bush's agenda labeled as unpatriotic. We might not experience the shame of the Baseball Hall of Fame canceling the Bull Durham celebration because two of the movie's stars oppose the war.

Nikita Khrushchev was right when he warned we would be buried. We'll be buried by our own ignorance and willingness to sacrifice the Bill of Rights on the altar of chauvinism.

Barbara McCord


Why is it that Gregory Kane assumes that those Polytechnic Institute students who opposed the war had been unduly influenced by liberal teachers, while those who agreed with his view were the ones who were thinking for themselves? My impression would be the opposite.

In either case, shouldn't we take pride in high school students taking their own stand?

Gail Goldman


It is time to return to education basics

Hurrah for Gregory Kane. I wish the politicians, school board members and everyone else would pay special attention to his column "Deprived of the basics in education, today's students are left to flounder," April 19).

He summed the matter up with the sort of words I have been saying for 15 years - "It looks like the back-to-basics movement, where traditional and frequently successful teaching methods are employed, should be dusted off and tried more often."

Money is not now and never will be the answer to our education problems. The basics of learning are what is needed and what has been missing for many years.

Kathy Riley


Taxpayer support for prayer is illegal

The reader who complains that religious acts have been made illegal is mistaken ("Exercise of religion is protected speech," letters April 15). It is only taxpayer support of those acts that is illegal, because that constitutes an establishment of religion. Anyone is free to pray at any time of his or her choice.

Communication with God is, in Christian teaching, a continuous process, as He knows the person's thoughts. The reward a person gets from public, organized prayer comes from the mutual support or, not to put too fine a point on it, from seeing others encouraged, cajoled or required to pray as he or she does.

There's nothing wrong with that, as long as it's not done with government support.

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