Listeners Have Their Say On Graphic Haiti Images

Tell Me More host Michel Martin and Lee Hill, the program's "digital media guy," comb through listener feedback and offer important news updates to recent conversations heard on the program. This week, the audience offers praise and criticism after a conversation with a woman who "came out of the closet" as a Christian to her circle of non-believing friends. Also, some say the many graphic images from the devastating earthquake in Haiti cross the line. And hear an update on the case of a young girl who was allegedly gang raped outside her high school's homecoming dance.

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MICHEL MARTIN, host:

And now it's time for Backtalk, where we lift the curtain on what's happening in the TELL ME MORE blogosphere and get a chance to hear from you, our listeners. Lee Hill, our digital media guy, is here with me, as always. Hi, Lee.

LEE HILL: Hey, Michel. Well, last week we spoke with Ada Calhoun, and Michel, she told us that she recently came out of the closet as a Christian to her circle of non-believing friends. Our conversation was a follow-up to a piece she wrote for Salon.com, titled "I Am A Closet Christian."

I caught up with blogger Paul, and I can't say that he had much sympathy for Calhoun's dilemma.

PAUL: Once again, the majority has a very small taste of what it feels like to be a minority. It is still almost a death knell to admit you are a doubter in most circles in this country. The dominant assumption is always that you believe in God. Why not have an astrologer on as well? Ridiculous.

LEE: All right. Thanks, Paul. But we also heard from Algery(ph), who posted this. She writes: Miss�Calhoun, please don't feel like you have to impress people who don't believe like you and that you have to hide it. Who knows? You might just help out someone struggling with their faith, and your words may be of strong encouragement to them.

MARTIN: Thank you, Algery. And Lee, now to last week's earthquake, which has devastated the capital of Haiti and killed tens of thousands of people. In a recent blog post, TELL ME MORE producer Jasmine Garsd questioned whether some of the graphic images being shown of those killed in the earthquake crossed the line between news and sensationalism.

Well, lots of people wanted to respond to Jasmine's post. Here's a perspective from Garr(ph), who posted to our site.

GARR: I believe it is completely impossible to cross the line when showing images from a disaster. Images convey, often, what words cannot. The imagery, by the likes of NPR photographers and the press, will give the viewing public what it does not want to see - but perhaps inspire greater aid from the United Nations and those countries who can give what the Haitians do not have.

MARTIN: Thank you, Garr, and Lee, Jasmine also probed the role that race plays in determining what images from which disasters are published by the media. To that point, here's a post from blogger James. He writes: It's a further sign that people of color are still seen as less than human and not worthy of the same respect afforded to whites or Americans. Compare how many images were shown of those killed in the 9/11 attacks. I never saw one horrific image of human carnage as those coming out of Haiti. Thank you, Paul. Lee, any updates?

HILL: Yeah, Michel, just one update. Last fall, we reported a disturbing story out of Richmond, California, where a young girl was allegedly gang-raped outside her high school's homecoming dance. Reportedly, this all happened as passers-by watched.

Well, Tuesday, a seventh suspect accused in the rape, 43-year-old John Crane Jr., turned himself in to Richmond authorities.

MARTIN: Thank you, Lee.

HILL: Thank you, Michel.

MARTIN: And remember, with TELL ME MORE, the conversation never ends. To tell us more, you can call our comment line at 202-842-3522. Please remember to leave your name. You can also log on to our Web site. Just go to npr.org. Click on programs, then on TELL ME MORE, and blog it out.

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