Jan 1 2007

Letters to the Editor

Truly Perplexed

I am truly perplexed by your six-page bombardment, “Are You on the News-Hour Guestlist?” (9-10/06), which argues the program represents “those in power rather than the public PBS is obliged to serve,” that it “mocks the original mandate of public television . . . to be as a forum for debate and controversy . . . and provide a voice for groups in the community that may otherwise be unheard.”

Who better to discuss issues of the day than those intimately involved—as long as both sides are presented? Which NewsHour does, in just one hour of the PBS day. Is FAIR suggesting listeners be enlightened by corner-bar babble via John/Jane Q. Public on world issues instead?

The NewsHour is fulfilling PBS obligations with interviews offering back and forth discussions among knowledgeable guests, enhanced by anchor queries. (Neither ABC, NBC or CBS provide such in-depth access. Anchors reading Tele-prompters equal oral newspapers.)

Who next? The McLaughlin Group?

No. I won’t cancel; nor will I renew to read sour grapes reporting. Incidentally—what makes Steve Rendall and Julie Hollar NewsHour eligible?

—Sandra M. Seymour

Menomonee Falls, Wisc.

NYT as Enabler

The article by Julie Hollar (“Gullibility Begins at Home: NYT Accepted False Reassurances on Ground Zero Safety,” 11-12/06) zeros in on the fact that the New York Times once again played a role of “enabler.” It has, as Hollar points out, not only refused to accept its error in going along with the misinformation fed to them by the EPA, but it also did not chastise Christine Todd Whitman for her lame attempt to protect herself.

In September 2006, Whitman gave a preposterous statement by saying that she had never given an “all clear” directly over the Ground Zero area but only “cleared” areas surrounding Ground Zero. I expected the New York Times to go to town with this voodoo physics and to demand from her the scientific reasons as to why the column of polluted air would remain hovering over in the specific area at Ground Zero. Alas, the New York Times chose not to teach her a basic lesson in physics—a simple sentence like “air is always in constant motion and is not in the habit of sticking around” would have put her to shame.

—G.M. Chandu

Flushing, N.Y.

“A Loud-Mouthed, Ignorant Demagogue”

I find your obviously biased and distorted pro-Chávez opinion an insult to my intelligence and a slap to the face of all the Venezuelans who are suffering under the yoke of this three-bit wannabe “revolutionary” leader.

The fact remains that under Chávez, crime, corruption and political repression have become the norm. While there is no denying that previous administrations were insensitive to the needs of Venezuela’s poor and underprivileged and that much of the country’s oil wealth was stolen and squandered, what we have in our country now is a loud-mouthed, ignorant populist demagogue who turns a blind eye to the looting of the Venezuelan treasury by his “Chavista” supporters and who has deemed it “politically expedient” to ignore the ever-escalating rate of crime, poverty and graft.

My family has been personally affected by this clown’s abuse of constitutional power. A cousin, a 67-year-old retired dentist and volunteer fireman, a man who donated his dental expertise to help poor children, was arrested last year on trumped-up charges of sedition. He was held incommunicado for several days and finally released without any charges ever being pressed against him. Venezuela’s jails are full of citizens whose crimes are their opposition to this regime and its human right abuses.

If some of you would just take the time to go live in Venezuela for a year and witness the dismantling of our hard-won freedoms, maybe you would not be so quick to defend the “Buffoon of Latin America” Hugo Chávez. I was there, as a young child, when on January 23, 1958, our last military dictator, Col. Marcos Perez Jimenez, was overthrown and run out of the country. I hope to be there when this latest incarnation of the Latin American swaggering caudillo gets thrown out of power by the people he supposedly represents (like Peron, Somoza, Trujillo, Stroessner and Pinochet were).

Please note that even the Venezuelan left, centrist politicians and the hard-working middle class (whatever is left of it) and many, many poor are among the 40 percent (and much more) that had the cojones to vote for Rosales.

I do not “hate” Chávez; however, I intellectually and spiritually recoil at every thing he stands for: opportunism, demagoguery, divisiveness and the cult of personality building around him (a la Fidel Castro). Chavez is a pestilent boil in the face of my country. I hope that one day soon the Venezuelan people will excise this ugly blemish and embark on a true social revolution, one which will provide justice, education and opportunity to all Venezuelans instead of this so called “Bolivarian Revolution,” this shameful excuse for a socialist movement, this “pretend” revolution, this unmitigated political charade, this poorly disguised tyranny trying to pass for democracy.

You all are not FAIR; the opinions you espouse are slanted and distorted. Maybe you should adopt the motto of that other paragon of journalistic objectivity, Fox News . . . Fair and Balanced. (Yeah, right!)

—Cornelio Cesar Nouel

Austin, Texas