Robert D. Novak ["Biden's Broadcast Connection," op-ed, June 23] said Norman Pattiz "played a leading role" in establishing U.S. radio service to the Middle East but that he was not the "dominant force."
Nearly everyone acknowledges that Mr. Pattiz almost single-handedly was responsible for the creation of Radio Sawa as well as Alhurra TV. His efforts have been recognized by President Bush, who publicly thanked him for his "perseverance and dedication" to Radio Sawa. The Republican chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors has called Mr. Pattiz the "father of Radio Sawa."
By attracting significant audiences, these services represent the most important public diplomacy initiatives for the Middle East since Sept. 11, 2001, and they have been praised by President Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the Sept. 11 commission, among others. This is why Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) has urged the White House to give Mr. Pattiz another term.
That Mr. Pattiz, a Democrat, endorsed Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) last year is hardly a surprise. That the administration has refused to reappoint Mr. Pattiz to the Broadcasting Board of Governors for doing so is shortsighted, given our national interest in making public diplomacy a priority. Commitment to public service, especially from those with a record of success, should be welcome from all Americans, regardless of their political affiliation.
Office of Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.)