Letters: Egypt Coverage; Rep. Rich Nugent

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Melissa Block and Michele Norris read from listeners' e-mails about the interview with Rep. Rich Nugent of Florida, who's forgoing federal health insurance; as well as response to our Egypt coverage.


From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.


And I'm Michele Norris.

And it's time now for your letters. And we received many about our co- host Robert Siegel's interview with Representative Rich Nugent of Florida.

Nugent is one of 16 freshman Republican members of Congress who declined the health-insurance coverage provided to federal employees.

RICH NUGENT: It's about ethical. It's about leading from the front, and it's kind of hard to look at people and say hey, listen, we need to cut back or it may cost you more money - if you're not willing to do the same thing.

BLOCK: Well, Paul Costello(ph) of St. Louis writes this: I think that it is great that the representative feels that he needs to lead from the front by paying for his own health-care insurance. As was pointed out in the interview, his salary is certainly high enough that he can afford to pay for his health care. However - Mr. Costello continues - he and the interviewer seemed to be saying that if he did not have this job, he might be living on $80,000, and then it would be much more difficult.

I need to remind both gentlemen that there is a very high percentage of the population that would love the opportunity to live on as much as $80,000 per year. They are the people that health-care reform needs to help.

NORRIS: We also heard from many of you about our coverage of the protests in Egypt. First, John Zole(ph) of Columbus, Ohio, was critical. He writes: I can't help but wonder how much the mob was whipped up by the media attention to Tunisia, as well as the Cairo events. The commentators almost sounded as though they wanted this to happen.

Zole goes on to ask: Are we advocating mob rule? Your coverage led me to believe so.

BLOCK: But Tarek Dawud(ph) of Redmond, Washington, praised our coverage. He was listening as he traveled to a rally to celebrate what he called the victory of the Egyptian people. And he writes this: You guys had the Egyptian national anthem playing by an orchestra in its full glory, and I was in tears. Never before have I been so proud of my people and my country, and never before have I felt such warmth and solidarity from the American people. Thank you from all my heart.

NORRIS: Thank you for your comments. You can write to us at npr.org. Just click on Contact Us at the bottom of the page

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