Letters: Sunday Soapbox, Pope

Listeners react to segments about a new political blog from Weekend Edition Sunday and to coverage of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the United States.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

LIANE HANSEN, host:

Now, to your letters. And several of you were delighted to hear our conversation with our classical music commentator Robert Greenberg about people music.

Victor Simo(ph) of Pahoa, Hawaii, was particularly moved by the music. Thank you for that wonderful piece, he writes, about the music of the Sistine Chapel. Sacred music is literally and figuratively heavenly to me. In the early years of this decade, I sang with a choir of the Tridentine Latin mass of San Diego and occasionally with the Gregorian chant group, Chorus Breviary(ph). Thanks for bringing back fond memories. I listen to your program on the Internet and I immediately hit the replay button.

Our coverage of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the United States prompted many of you to write in. Robin Feral(ph) of South Royalton, Vermont enjoyed hearing the insights of Sister Joan Chittister, a Benedictine nun, about the role of women in the church.

Ms. ROBIN FERAL (Caller): I am a peace activist, artist, educator and raised Catholic. Sister Joan spoke for millions of us. She was kind, empowering and articulate in her comments. Thank you for your genius of selection on this important weekend of the Pope's U.S. visit. I am a four-year cancer survivor battling Stage 4 breast and secondary bone cancer. NPR keeps me connected and energized.

HANSEN: Last week, we introduced our new online election blog, Sunday Soapbox, and to our guest bloggers who will be leading our online discussions. Nicole Sewars Larson of San Diego, California wrote in to say she perceived a bias among our bloggers.

The first, she writes, who was also given the most prominence, was repeatedly referred to as a Republican, and she also lauded her Republican activism. I waited intently to listen to the descriptions and comments of your other two bloggers. Neither was described as or referred to as being a Democrat. This leads me to conclude you are continuing to exalt and perpetuate Karl Rove's permanent Republican majority.

Even though the country has long moved away from neo-conservatism, the rest of the mainstream media continues to idolize.

Rebecca Lanier of Murphy, California took issue with the idea of a blog all together. Sorry to hear the new segment on NPR, she wrote, and disappointed that NPR has lowered itself to the status of Fox, CNN, and MSNBC by relaying opinions from individuals who have no clue. Blogging is gossip, and, just like "American Idol," another example of the slow decline of our once-educated society.

Let me remind you that you can share your thoughts about the election - or about blogging - at the Sunday Soapbox Web site, npr.org/sundaysoapbox. You can also send your comments - critical or complimentary - by going to our Web page, npr.org. Just click on the Contact Us link.

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