Letters: McCain, Women's Prison, Anthems

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Renee Montagne and Steve Inskeep read from listeners' comments.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

Time now for your comments.

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MONTAGNE: Many of you responded to my interview with Senator John McCain. Willella Turessa(ph) of Houston complained of partisan bias after I put some hard questions to McCain. She complained that I interrupted him and adds: For several months, I have been uneasy and disappointed with NPR's slanted coverage of the election race.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

We got the opposite complaint after an interview with an administration critic. Ron Suskind's new book investigates the misuse of intelligence before the Iraq War, and some hard questions led Steve Carter to write from Austin, Texas: I am so disappointed with NPR using administration hacks like Steve Inskeep. Can't there be just one media outlet that isn't controlled by the neocons?

MONTAGNE: And we got another response - lots of them, actually - after NPR's Cokie Roberts suggested Hawaii was an odd choice for Barack Obama's vacation.

COKIE ROBERTS: But he has made such a point about how he is from Kansas and -you know, the boy from Kansas and Kenya - and it makes him seem a little bit more exotic than perhaps he would want to come across as at this stage in the presidential campaign.

MONTAGNE: Donald Barella(ph) writes to say: Last I looked, Hawaii is one of the 50 states, not a foreign place.

INSKEEP: But it is kind of…

MONTAGNE: And how exotic could it be, Steve? I was raised there.

INSKEEP: But that's why it's exotic, Renee. It's where Renee Montagne grew up. There's a plaque there or something.

Other people responded to a story about a place that's foreign to many of us. It's the inside of a women's prison, where some inmates nurse their infants. Kristin Kennedy, a mother of three, told us she was in prison on drug charges, and listener Doug Riddle responded: I was yelling at the radio until she admitted blame. There is a decent shot for her. If only she and her child manage to walk away good from that program, then that program is worth every penny. And he adds I wish I hadn't had to depend on friends and family when I got stupid and did time in solitary.

MONTAGNE: And last week, commentator Miles Hoffman speculated that we're not likely to hear the national anthem of Monaco at the Olympics, given that Monaco might not win any medals. Lee Thomas thought of another anthem we won't hear: Taiwan's.

But, Thomas writes, this is not due to lack of athletic prowess. At the 2004 Athens Olympics, Taiwanese athletes won five medals, including two golds. The reason, of course, is China's claims that Taiwan is not a country, but part of its territory.

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INSKEEP: You can send your themes and comments by going to npr.org and clicking on Contact Us.

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INSKEEP: This is NPR News.

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