Letters: Cheney Shooting, Muslim Cartoon Controversy

Steve Inskeep and Renee Montagne read from listeners' letters.

Copyright © 2006 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

And it's time to hear from more of your comments. Enough already, was the message in many of your emails this week. You complained that we went overboard in our reporting Dick Cheney's accidental shooting of a friend while hunting.

Maris Bearzins(ph) of Redmond, Washington, writes, “Please respect the friend's privacy and let him heal in peace. Stop trying to turn every issue into some kind of conspiracy.”

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

“What's next,” adds Kevin Gearson(ph) of Hampton, Virginia? “Minute by minute updates from outside the hospital? Cheney may be a curmudgeon, but given the feeding frenzy this story has inspired, it's hard to blame him for not wanting to talk to the press.”

INSKEEP: And we got this suggestion from Rick Stoubey(ph) of New Tripoli, Pennsylvania, who writes, “If you need to mention the story, why not report on someone else who has accidentally shot a friend? Find out if they wanted to tell the world about it?”

MONTAGNE: We have these corrections, now. We mistakenly put some extra zeroes into a story about the reaction to offensive cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad. Those cartoons were first published in Denmark. And in reporting on a boycott of Danish goods, we said that one Danish exporter to the Middle East was losing roughly $200 million a day. Wrong. We should have said that company, Arla Foods, was roughly loosing nearly two million dollars a day.

INSKEEP: And in our extensive coverage of the TV hit, American Idol, we said the show was referred to as homophobic by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. That organization says it never actually used that word to describe American Idol. But the group has voiced concern over how the program has mocked certain contestants.

MONTAGNE: And to other stories now. Last week, we ran a report about the ongoing debate over Affirmative Action at the University of Michigan. Here's the school's President, Dr. Mary Sue Coleman, defending their efforts to recruit minorities to apply to the school.

Dr. MARY SUE COLEMAN (President, University of Michigan): Everybody instantly assumes that if I didn't get in, if I'm white, if I didn't get in, it's because some minority took my spot. In 98 percent of the cases, another white person took that spot.

INSKEEP: That report brought this comment from Richard Whittington, who teaches medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. RICHARD WHITTINGTON (Professor, University of Pennsylvania Health System): I'm reminded of a story about a coach who asked two athletes to try out for a team, and finds they run nearly the same time. One runs with great form, and the other runs with terrible form. The coach takes the athlete with terrible form, because he knows he can train that athlete to be a star. Isn't that really the foundation of Affirmative Action, to select people for their potential? If I see potential in a student from an urban school, who had to work part time to support a family, or had other disadvantages, shouldn't I be allowed to select that student over a student from the suburbs, who had every advantage?

MONTAGNE: Finally, Ethan Morganstein of Kalamazoo, Michigan, wrote to compliment Steve, Steve, on you your daring, on air demonstration of the new Gillette Five-Blade Razor. He writes, “Steve brought a fine sense of wonder and humor to stubble removal. Way to go, Steve,” he writes. “You're a man of wise whiskers and razor sharp wit.”

INSKEEP: Very kind sentiments, which are not shared by Jennifer Wykoff(ph) of Peabody, Massachusetts. She writes that, “When the demonstration was over, her seven-year-old commented, that's the funniest advertisement I've ever heard.” She continues, “I started to tell him there are not commercials on NPR. But then I couldn't. He was right.”

MONTAGNE: Whether you're old enough to shave or not, we appreciate all your comments on MORNING EDITION. To get in touch, go to npr.org. and click on Contact Us.

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