Message of fear is real misstep by news media

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

January 02, 2004

Message of fear is real misstep by news media

After reading "A year of media missteps in rewind" by David Shaw (Dec. 28), I felt it missed the bigger issue.

A David Letterman-style Top 10 list featuring stories of media figures retouching photos or making derogatory slurs on the air is the equivalent of the 101 Biggest Celebrity Oops on the E! channel. How about focusing on the television media's abuse of power?

TV news sacrifices ethics in its race for ratings, and it is a sacrifice the country feels. The vast majority of television reports are about crime - and the more gruesome the story, the better.

The reports almost gleefully blame the same criminal again and again: the inner city black man. They perpetuate a harmful stereotype for the larger, white audience.

Is inner city violence news, or are the media just tapping into white people's fears?

Advertising spots that scare us into watching are also commonplace. How many spots have you seen such as, "The water you are drinking may be unsafe; tune in to local news at 11"? Or, "Are your children safe at school? You may be surprised by what we uncovered"?

Americans are being controlled by fear. Fear of the black man, fear of the Middle Eastern man, fear of terrorism, fear of being bad parents, fear of anything that will result in ratings. No wonder Americans buy so many guns - we've got to protect ourselves from the dangers we see on the local news.

This country would be safer, smarter and less racist if the television media engaged in responsible reporting.

Where does this "media misstep" fit on The Sun's list?

Andrew Biggs

Baltimore

Revealing CIA agent belonged on list

I was stunned to finish the article "A year of media missteps in rewind" (Dec. 28) and not find a word about columnist Robert Novak's article naming Valerie Plame as an undercover CIA operative.

I don't know what parameters author David Shaw used to select his missteps, but Mr. Novak's outing of Ms. Plame was one of the most misguided and outlandish stunts ever pulled by a member of the news media.

Scott Norris

Baltimore

World's Muslims must reject terror

The United States is doing the right thing by confronting terrorism in Iraq. The president told us in September 2001 that the war on terrorism would be long and hard. If we give up the war on terrorism now, the world will no longer be safe.

I am very concerned because the terrorists are for the most part Islamic extremists. However, the mainstream Islamic community worldwide (including Muslims in the United States) has done little to demonstrate that these extremists are misrepresenting its faith.

I base my viewpoint on my experience during the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Until white people became actively involved and spoke out for racial equality, I, as a young black person, was prepared to believe that the segregationists represented the feelings of white citizens.

I think it is time for all Islamic people to step up and let the world know where they stand regarding tolerance, equality and harmony.

Marie Lewis

Baltimore

Let the Afghans form regime they choose

In regard to The Sun's rather pompous editorial on Afghan efforts to put together a constitution, I must confess I detest your language ("Beyond the burqa," editorial, Dec. 28).

The people of Afghanistan have the right to form whatever form of government and rule of law they choose. As long as the majority of the people of the land approve, I say that we should back off.

Afghans even have the right to dislike us, as long as they understand and remember what happened to the Taliban regime when it gave shelter to Osama bin Laden and his crowd.

Michael N. Ryan

Bel Air

Homebuilder's past merited no mention

The Sun's article "Homebuilders honor three in industry at annual banquet" (Dec. 28) found it necessary, for whatever reason, to delve into the personal past of Howard Perlow.

I find this treatment of Mr. Perlow inexcusable and in very poor taste.

Mr. Perlow rightfully received his Home Builders Association of Maryland award, and mention should have been made only of all of his present charitable works, not of what happened years ago.

Richard B. Brawley

Westminster

Christian slogan reflects Jesus' words

In his column "Here's hoping for a Festivus for all of us" (Dec. 29), Dan Rodricks chooses to attack Christians by focusing on one particular bumper sticker with which he took issue.

The bumper sticker read: "Christians aren't better, just better off."

Now, Jesus is not the personal author of every bumper sticker that speaks in his name, but this bumper sticker, although politically incorrect, may be much closer to the truth than Mr. Rodricks' column.

When Jesus walked the earth, he didn't display bumper stickers, but he did say, "Follow me." And if by chance you would ask him why you should follow him, you can find his answer in the Gospel of John, Chapter 14, Verse 6. There Jesus said: "I am the way, the truth and the life; no man comes to the Father but by me."

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