Letters: Journalism And TSA Screenings

Talk of the Nation listeners commented on the past week's shows on Twitter, through e-mail and on npr.org. Listeners were divided on the Transportation Security Administration's new screening rules, and the value of objectivity in journalism.

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NEAL CONAN, host:

It's Tuesday, and time to read from your emails and Web comments.

Our discussion on journalism with Ted Koppel and Jeff Jarvis brought this response from Craig Rosen(ph) in San Mateo, California. There is no problem with journalists having a point of view, he wrote, as long as they are willing to revise it in light of new information. A good investigator, whether a journalist, scientist, or a police detective, starts with a hunch but follows the evidence. A detective who only investigates his initial suspect - a scientist who smugly defends his pet theory, or a journalist who looks at the facts to fit his preconceived opinions, is a hack who provides no added value.

And from Mike Manfrin(ph) in Orinda, California, we received this note: I take offense at the sidelining of Jon Stewart as fake news. Yes, his show is primarily comedy-based, but it consists of the dissection of lies and mistruths in news and events. A recent study showed that "The Daily Show" viewers are much more informed about current events compared to any other news outlet, including NPR.

During our show on care for people with disabilities who age out of the system once they reached 21, many listeners wrote and called to question whether the cost of that care is justified.

Brian Van Winkle(ph) wrote from St. Louis and he said he found that hard to comprehend. If I were affected like this, he wrote, I pray society would take care of me. And if you, my neighbor, are afflicted like this, I will be proud to be a citizen of a country that will help take care of you. How much does it cost to do the right thing?

The new TSA screening procedures at airports angered many of our listeners, including Linda(ph) in California, who wrote: I'm an older woman with an artificial hip and a history of cancer. The full-body scanner is an invasive procedure. As a cancer survivor, I want to limit my exposure to unnecessary radiation, and I'm concerned the machine settings might expose me to more. As for the other alternative, the pat-down, this is completely outrageous and unacceptable.

But Nina Matei(ph) in Dunnellon, Florida, disagreed. She wrote: I think NPR has been hijacked by the emotional story of full-body scanners and thorough pat-downs, and has failed to focus on the real topic, which is flight security. I'm in favor of almost any security measure that makes flying safer and ask that the measures be fairly enforced and courtesy and respect be practiced on both sides.

And finally, a correction from Paul Weisenfeld(ph) in Los Angeles. When we talked with actor David Suchet, I mistakenly said he'd appeared in the film "Amadeus." David Suchet appeared in the play "Amadeus," in the role of Salieri, F. Murray Abraham's part in the movie.

As always, if you have corrections, comments or questions for us, the best way to reach us is by email. That address is talk@npr.org. Please let us know where you're writing from and how to pronounce your name. And if you're on Twitter, you can follow me there: @nealconan, all one word. And check out our website, where you can find all the programs you missed and much more. Go to npr.org, and click on TALK OF THE NATION.

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