Letter To The Editor


May 04, 2004

Censorship of `Nightline' dishonors dead

Do we have a free press in this country or not? Sinclair Broadcast Group's censorship of Friday's Nightline broadcast certainly makes one wonder ("Sinclair stations won't air `Nightline,'" April 30).

In a news environment often focused on celebrity and pop culture, Nightline's willingness to take time out to pay tribute to the dead was a great service. Civic-minded journalism like this should be encouraged, not censored.

Sinclair was essentially saying that any public recognition of the fallen soldiers is a political act against the war in Iraq. This not only deadens critical discourse, it trivializes the sacrifices these men and women made for us.

Honoring the dead is not a partisan act.

Julie Gabrielli


Sinclair Broadcast Group's refusal to show Nightline on Friday night is a form of censorship that should not be allowable under the rules for the public airways the company uses.

In reading the names of those service people who have died in Iraq, Nightline was, in my opinion, giving honor to those people, as well as reminding those of us at home that there is a real cost to war.

I find Sinclair's actions unconscionable.

Joan K. Parr


It is astounding and frightening that the Sinclair Broadcasting Group decided not to air "Nightline's" reading of the names of those who have sacrificed their lives for us.

The company accused the show of being political, but it appears that the political frame came from Sinclair. What Nightline was doing was honoring those Americans and allowing us all to mourn.

Whether one supports such a war or not, we must know the toll it takes.

And this kind of censorship is a frightening aspect of what is happening in this country.

Sharon Chaiklin


I am sickened by Sinclair Broadcast Group's refusal to air the Nightline show naming the servicemen and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq.

Irrespective of one's views on the efficacy or legitimacy of the ongoing war in Iraq, we all should commemorate and mourn those who died.

Sinclair is guilty of more than censorship and hypocrisy - it dishonored our fallen heroes and their families.

Dave Strickland


Sinclair was right to stop anti-war ploy

What a pleasure to praise a hometown company for a stand that shows guts and class. The folks at Sinclair Broadcast Group deserve all the plaudits they can get ("Sinclair stations won't air `Nightline,'" April 30).

ABC's Nightline claimed to be running the names and pictures of our Iraq war fallen as a tribute. But Sinclair called the show for what it was - an anti-war ploy - and declined to participate.

Our fallen soldiers deserve recognition, not exploitation.

Kudos to Sinclair. Let's keep it in this area and raise its banner high.

Vince Clews


I applaud the decision of the Sinclair Broadcast Group not to air ABC's Nightline.

The reading of the names and showing of pictures of those service members killed in Iraq was done in an attempt to undermine President Bush and to turn citizens against our military.

I would support any honest effort to pay tribute to our fallen heroes.

Gary D. Starkey


Don't blame abuse on poor training

I have followed The Sun's excellent articles on the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. military personnel. And in them we are often led to believe that the blame can be attributed to inadequate training of the reserve forces assigned to guard the prisoners ("Lack of training, stress are blamed in abuse of Iraqis," April 30).

But as a former military person, I know that poor training is just one part of the problem.

Certainly of equal or greater importance is the leadership and discipline provided by the military officers in charge - and here it was obviously lacking.

Of great importance also is the integrity and responsibility of the individual soldier - who must treat others properly and follow the rules.

Lee Starkey


Violating principles basic to our nation

As a high school history teacher and former student adviser for Amnesty International, I am appalled and ashamed to learn of the sadistic and atrocious behavior of some American military personnel toward Iraqi prisoners ("Army report finds worse POW abuse," May 2).

Although we are at war and those captured have fought against Americans and our supporters, we do not have the moral or ethical right to carry out the horrendous abuses reported.

Moreover, actions such as these undermine the American presence in Iraq, as those who were perceived as brutal enemies are now perceived by the world as pathetic victims.

My students are taught that America was founded upon the ethical principles of justice, liberty and, most important, individual rights. And neither Americans nor any others have the right to ignore the Geneva Conventions' rules of war and to carry out physical and mental torture.

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