Letters: Orchestra in N. Korea, NATO, New Orleans

Melissa Block and Robert Siegel read from listeners' responses to yesterday's program — including our reports on the New York Philharmonic in North Korea, NAFTA's effects in Ohio, and a doctor in New Orleans.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

Time now for your comments on yesterday's program.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

Zachary Kilner(ph) of DeKalb, Illinois writes, as both a classical musician and a Korean linguist, I found your story on the New York Philharmonic's trip to the capital of North Korea fascinating. When I studied Korean language and culture, the hostility of North Korea to Western culture and the United States in particular was made abundantly clear. That they would allow an American music ensemble in to play Western music in their capital city is astounding.

SIEGEL: Elizabeth Petri(ph) of Carbondale, Illinois didn't like the way we reported on the effect NAFTA has actually had on Ohio's economy. I found the story to be very insulting to NPR listeners, she writes. First, you introduced the discussion of this trade act in terms of us entering a time warp as if the repercussions of this agreement signed in 1994 aren't still being felt today. Then, Adam Davidson felt it necessary to ask the omnipotent male voice of reason to cue the film strip in order to explain what NAFTA is.

As an avid NPR listener, I was offended that the producers of this story felt it necessary to dumb down the history of NAFTA complete with sing-songy music playing in the background.

BLOCK: Britney Camille(ph) of Hawthorne, California was moved by our profile of Dr. Ajsa Nikolic who started up an urgent care clinic in New Orleans. She says this, I am a 22-year-old college student from New Orleans who's currently living in Los Angeles. I have not been back to New Orleans since 1999. I've been thinking about what I want to do with my life and this inspired me to go back home one day and give back to my city. I was very touched that Dr. Nik chose to give so much of her time and effort to a place that she doesn't come from, yet many of us who are from New Orleans have not gone back.

SIEGEL: April Tillery(ph) of Cincinnati heard the same story and had a very different response. Certainly, Dr. Nikolic's compassion for the people of New Orleans is to be commended, she writes. But family physicians who provide continuity of care, whether for an acute visit or managing chronic conditions such as hypertension or diabetes, are the real heroes you should be celebrating.

Dr. Nikolic, unlike my family practitioner husband who still makes house calls to keep his elderly patients from having to leave their homes for nursing care facilities, can't even begin to provide the comprehensive care that truly makes a difference in people's lives.

BLOCK: We'd like to hear from you. Go to npr.org and choose Contact Us at the top of the page. Please don't forget to tell us where you live and how you pronounce your name.

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