Puffing Up Stalin

How can anyone put a picture of Joseph Stalin with an article about the pleasures of pipe smoking ["Bowled Over No Longer; The Once-Ubiquitous Aroma of Fatherhood Is Fading Away," Style, June 19]?

A despot who is responsible for killing millions of innocent people is shown with the likes of Albert Einstein, Walter Cronkite and Sammy Davis Jr.

What's next? Adolf Hitler as an avid vegetarian? Should we expect his snapshot to illustrate articles about the advantages of the meatless diet?

-- Peter K. Gerner


Disparaging Graphics

While I found Roberto Suro's June 26 Outlook piece ["Latino Power?"] regarding the Hispanic vote to be well-written and informative, I was offended by the accompanying graphics depicting whites as professionally dressed, with briefcase in hand, and Latinos as slouching and curvaceous, wearing baggy clothes and baseball caps.

The last time I looked around Washington, I saw plenty of Latino professionals in business suits and plenty of whites wearing miniskirts and T-shirts. It is this kind of disparaging misrepresentation of non-whites that contributes to the slow pace of minorities becoming a "more prominent political presence" in the United States.

I'm disappointed that your editors allowed this graphic illustration to pass muster: You can, and must, do better.

-- Katherine Marsh


Lobbyists Defined

Jeffrey H. Birnbaum's June 22 front-page article, "The Road to Riches Is Called K Street," was inaccurate from the first sentence: "To the great growth industries of America such as health care and home building add one more: influence peddling."

"Influence peddling" is the act of a sitting official offering the powers of his office in exchange for money, usually on behalf of another party -- and it is a crime. What Birnbaum clearly meant -- and what the article was about -- was "lobbying," which is the perfectly legitimate petition of government by a citizen. Although he showed that lobbying has become big business, offering advocacy in exchange for money is no crime.

It is appalling that the reporter, editors and copy editors of the capital's leading daily newspaper don't know the difference between "influence peddling" and "lobbying," and that no one caught this in the first sentence of the lead paragraph of the lead story on the front page.

-- David Silverberg


Backyard Buzz

Margaret Webb Pressler's June 26 Business article on outdoor living spaces missed an opportunity to talk with neighbors of homeowners who've moved some of their home entertainment equipment outside.

It's well and good for homeowners to watch football or to listen to their stereo in their back yard, but the No. 1 complaint owners (and renters) have about neighbors is noise. I have to question whether Pressler's coverage presented a balanced picture of this movement toward outdoor living.

Yes, the technology is there, but we haven't thought much about how to move our living outside in a neighborly way. Maybe Pressler could start the conversation by asking people how they like being a captive audience to their neighbors' entertainment choices.

-- Robert Freedman


So What Else Is New?

It's a shame that your editors allow the White House to dictate The Post's front-page coverage. Your June 29 headline "Bush Says War Was Worth Sacrifice" makes it clear that the president's speech contained no significant news. Yet you still allowed the speech to dominate the day's paper, with two stories and a huge picture taking up most of the room above the fold.

Bush's speech was little more than an attempt to boost his sagging poll numbers by tying Iraq to the Sept. 11 attacks once again -- a connection that has been proved false. There were no policy announcements, no new direction regarding the war, no new successes and no admission of failures.

Just because a speech takes place in prime time doesn't mean your editors shouldn't use their judgment when deciding how much coverage it deserves. I hope they'll do so in the future.

-- Bernie Roth