Letters: Lawrence Jacobs; Caucus Coverage; Charles W. Bailey II

Melissa Block and Robert Siegel read letters from listeners.

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

It's time now for your letters and, first, one correction. Yesterday, Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann dropped out of the Republican presidential nominating contest, and in our story about her failed bid for the White House, some of you heard our reporter call political analyst Lawrence Jacobs, Lawrence Jacobson. It's our mistake and we apologize to Mr. Jacobs.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

On the subject of Iowa, several listeners complained about our coverage of Tuesday's caucuses. Not about what we covered, but how much we covered it. Barbara Pritsgat(ph) of Redondo Beach, California, writes this: Never has one story been so over-covered, overdone, repetitious, boring, unimportant and maddening.

BLOCK: And David Tomane(ph) of Archbald, Pennsylvania, adds: Media coverage of the Iowa caucus, including NPR's, does all other American voters a disservice. Because of the absurdly intense coverage, the votes of Iowans are worth far more than those of the rest of us. He continues, the coverage of every gas and donut stop gives the Iowa caucus an overstated importance and effect on the national election. Stay home, NPR. Let's leave Iowa to the Iowans.

SIEGEL: Finally, and sadly, we have a death in the NPR family to report this week. From 1984 until 1987, Charles W. Bailey, II was our Washington editor. For Chuck, it was a brief coda to a long and illustrious career in newspapering at the Minneapolis Tribune, later the Star Tribune.

He joined the paper in 1950 and covered Washington for it for almost 20 years. He wrote political novels, some of them with former federal reporter Fletcher Knebel. "Seven Days in May" about an attempted military coup in Washington was a huge bestseller and was made into a movie with Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas.

Chuck Bailey rose to edit the Minneapolis Star Tribune, but he quit, protesting staff cuts at the paper. He thought they would undermine its quality. He came back to Washington and the twin city's loss was NPR's gain. I was Chuck's boss in those days, but he was my senior in a great many respects. He brought a lifetime of experience and good judgment and a steady hand at a peculiarly unsteady time here. He was good company and some of the best of our reporters recall him as the best of their editors.

Chuck Bailey suffered from Parkinson's in his last years. He died Monday at age 82.

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