Screening the TV
Your story on the V-chip condemns this new technology to oblivion even before most consumers know that it's now available ["Parents Not Tuned to V-Chip," front page, June 29]. Even the most successful consumer products, such as VCRs and cellular phones, initially had low consumer demand until the public had a period of time to see the benefits of the new technology. It is far too early to declare the V-chip a failure just as it is approaching the starting gate.
Moreover, as the story acknowledges, parents do want the V-chip. A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 77 percent of parents would use a V-chip to protect their children from material they deem unsuitable. Other studies have made similar findings.
Instead of drawing premature conclusions about the V-chip, your paper could play a constructive role. If, as you report, only a small number of parents understand the ratings codes, your paper could carry ratings information in its television listings, as do many major newspapers around the country.
-- Gloria Tristani
The writer, a member of the Federal
Communications Commission, chairs the FCC's
V-Chip Task Force.
On June 25 you published "Scurrilous Charges," an op-ed piece by one Alvin S. Felzenberg, who is identified as a member of the Republican congressional staff. Felzenberg chooses to dilate on President Eisenhower's sterling record on McCarthyism and civil rights. Anyone unfamiliar with the facts should consult the work of Stephen Ambrose, Eisenhower's great and sympathetic biographer, where he or she will discover that Eisenhower's record in these areas was, on McCarthyism, shamefully cowardly -- see Ike's behavior toward his patron, Gen. George C. Marshall -- and on civil rights, tardy, reluctant and morally obtuse. And these, mind you, are the judgments of a supremely competent admirer.
Felzenberg correctly notes that in the 1950s many American racist politicians were sheltered in the Democratic Party. He oddly neglects the subsequent and justly famous migration of this faction to the party that currently employs him.
-- Fredric Smoler
Your coverage of the recent Israeli bombing of Lebanon (filed from Jerusalem, naturally, not Beirut) presents it as a "response" to Lebanese resistance rocket attacks on Israel [news story, June 25]. This makes the Israeli attack seem almost reasonable, however disproportionate.
But later in the article, we discover that in fact the rocket attacks were themselves in response to the earlier shelling of Lebanese villages by Israeli forces. It makes an enormous difference to present the story as an almost justifiable Israeli "reaction" to resistance attacks, rather than as justifiable resistance to Israeli attacks on Lebanese civilians.
As long ago as 1978, United Nations Security Council Resolution 425 called upon Israel to end its occupation of Lebanon. The resistance comes in response to the occupation, not the other way around.
-- Saree Makdisi
Bungled Battle Plan
As someone who participated in the "Grant vs. Lee" event, I must say that Steven Ginsberg's description of the recreation of the Battle of Mule Shoe [Metro, June 20] was somewhat confusing and misleading. While it is true that the Confederates did eventually force the Federals to retreat, it was the Federals who originally assaulted the Confederates in their entrenchments, the "mule shoe" being a U-shaped salient in the Confederate line.
By the way, Brandy Station is the site of the largest cavalry battle fought in North America. Calvary was the site of Jesus's crucifixion.
-- Thomas McClung
No Flies on Hillary
Richard Cohen needs to get out more. In his June 29 op-ed piece on the Clintons' vacation plans ["The First Pretender"], Cohen acknowledges that New York State's Adirondack region is a wild and wonderful area. But then he hikes off the trail and claims that it is "sort of famous for its flies and for the fact -- beyond dispute -- that it is not on the water."
What is this man talking about? The indisputable fact is that the Adirondacks are blessed with an abundance of sparkling lakes, all of which, as far as I can tell, contain water. As for the black flies, they're gone by the Fourth of July, which means that all Hillary Clinton would have to swat from her canoe on Saranac Lake would be ill-informed reporters.
-- Mari-Anne Pisarri