TV stations must accept political ads
The balance of political advertising vs. political coverage by America's television stations is certainly a topic worthy of discussion. But Michael Olesker's column "Foraging for funds not exactly a Dutch treat" (March 18) presented only half of the issue.
Here's the other side of the story:
Over the years, television stations such as WBAL-TV have offered free air time to candidates, only to be rejected over and over again. Candidates are reluctant to appear in a debate format; the free time they prefer is a 30-second message carefully crafted by their political consultants. Incumbents, in particular, prefer television advertising.
Portraying all TV stations as greedy is an interesting perspective. But perhaps Mr. Olesker is unaware that local television stations, regulated by the Federal Communications Commission, must make their airwaves available for paid political advertising by law and cannot impose arbitrary limits on candidate use.
And not all television stations are equal and thus they should not be painted with the same brush.
To this point, WBAL-TV and all of the Hearst-Argyle television stations have committed to nightly pre-election coverage since 2000. Just last week, Hearst-Argyle stations were awarded our third consecutive USC Annenberg Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism.
We cover politics. Our viewers and the candidates benefit from our coverage, and we are offended by being lumped into a negative stereotype that suggests that TV stations do not consider politics newsworthy or of interest to our viewers.
The writer is the president and general manager of WBAL-TV.
Hypocrisy vitiates concern for Schiavo
With sincere respect for Terri Schiavo and her family, I am awed by the level of hypocrisy on display by our president and the lawmakers who have sought to overturn the Florida courts' decisions and to have Mrs. Schiavo's feeding tube reinserted ("Judge hears arguments in Schiavo case," March 22).
The president who rushed back to Washington to grandstand his concern for Mrs. Schiavo's life is the same president who has been willing to sacrifice tens of thousands of human lives in a pre-emptive war.
News cameras are allowed to herald President Bush's and Sen. Bill Frist's concern for Mrs. Schiavo's life, but forbidden to show us the flag-draped coffins returning from Iraq.
Rarely do we glimpse images of Iraqi families grieving the deaths of their loved ones.
I see little commitment to the sanctity of human life in these leaders who seem to so readily accept the human toll in Iraq.
What seems more evident is a shameful willingness to manipulate monumental human suffering - be it that of Mrs. Schiavo and her family or that of the war dead and their families - for cheap political gain.
Martha Fitzpatrick Bishai
Terri Schiavo has been selected as a legal guinea pig to provide a precedent for those who have been unable to solicit a decision of their liking in the ongoing abortion debate.
It is a sad farce for many leaders in this country to proclaim this nation's commitment to respecting human life while we wage war on dubious grounds and deny basic legal rights to prisoners held by this country.
How many innocent lives have been taken as a result of the decisions by the same leaders who juggle the Constitution in this so-called effort to defend life?
Filibuster showdown another radical step
Thank you for the article on the upcoming Senate showdown over the Republicans' plan to remove the power of the filibuster on judicial nominees ("Senate heads for showdown over filibuster," March 20).
If this were to happen, it would be the most radical change to the rules of the Senate in the 217 years that we have been ruled under the Constitution. It would be absolutely devastating to the right of the minority to affect the course of the country.
I hope the Republican Senators will step back and look at the big picture.
And where is President Bush's promise to be the president of all the people, as he insists on presenting the same radical nominees who were rejected during his first term?
He is obviously determined to push his right-wing agenda down our throats, whatever the consequences.
Care for creation is a Christian duty
Once again, Cal Thomas misses the big picture ("Evangelicals veer off course," Opinion * Commentary, March 16).
Indeed, Christians should be concerned about the environment.
Psalm 24:1 reminds us that the Earth belongs to the Almighty, and not us. The Book of Genesis, in addition to giving humans charge over the Earth, makes it clear that we are to take care of it.
Jesus may not have told us what to drive, but he clearly charged Christians to be instruments of justice to others.
How can we fulfill that charge without taking care of the planet that provides for us all? How is it Christian justice to say that we love our neighbor, and then to poison his land and water?