Letters: U.S.-Venezuela Relations, Iraq Obituaries, Corrections
RENEE MONTAGNE, host:
Time now for your comments.
STEVE INSKEEP, host:
We got a letter from Bernardo Alvarez Herrera. He's Venezuela's ambassador to Washington, and he criticized our recent story about his country's relations with the United States.
MONTAGNE: The ambassador writes, `We are concerned with your characterization of President Hugo Chavez as anti-American. It's disconcerting that NPR was unable to find anyone to speak positively or even objectively about the Venezuelan government. This absence is notable given that domestic support for the Chavez administration is widespread. Your piece perpetuated a Cold War framework of anti-Americanism instead of exploring policy differences.'
INSKEEP: We heard from other listeners about that story, including John Turjin(ph).
MONTAGNE: He writes, `It appears to me that Chavez is not anti-American, but rather anti-Bush administration. After all, as your piece reported, Chavez wants to make Venezuelan oil available at a reduced price to low-income areas in the US. Hardly,' he writes, `reflective of anti-American sentiment.'
INSKEEP: We also received some response to an interview about Theodore Roosevelt's adventures after he left office. While discussing that former president, we mentioned another ex-president, the first President Bush, and I said that he learned how to parachute after he left the presidency. In fact, as some of you pointed out, the president already had experience jumping out of a plane. As a young Navy pilot during World War II, Mr. Bush parachuted to safety after he was shot down.
MONTAGNE: Turning now to the current war, Kathy Stone(ph) of Charleston, South Carolina, wrote to thank us for airing obituaries of some of the service members who've died in Iraq.
Ms. KATHY STONE (Listener): When I lost my brother in Vietnam, young men and women lost their lives anonymously. There were no stories celebrating their unique characteristics, no interviews with grieving friends and family members, no sense of what the world lost with their death. Unless you were directly affected, the depersonalized body counts made it all to easy to forget the countless people affected by the continuing losses.
MONTAGNE: Listener Kathy Stone. The same stories about fallen Americans also drew this response.
Mr. ANDRE SOLAZEN(ph) (Listener): This is Andre Solazen in Ithaca, New York. I'm disturbed by your presentation of loving portraits of fallen soldiers. Of course, I'm saddened by the terrible loss of these young people, but this is not news. A news-gathering organization doesn't exist to record the understandable emotional responses of grieving relatives. It exists to explain such events.
MONTAGNE: And our story about a class to teach parents how to teach their kids algebra drew this question from Cathy Peace(ph) of Rockport, Maine. `Don't we send our children to school to be taught?'
INSKEEP: And she continues, `I don't mind correcting homework, proofreading papers or listening to practice recitations, but as my children make their way through the system, I'm increasingly finding myself teaching concepts that they should have gotten in school, but didn't.'
MONTAGNE: Several of you wanted to teach us a grammar lesson after hearing our report on what we called a very unique preschool program in Oklahoma.
Mr. ALLAN KRINSKY(ph) (Listener): Something unique is, by definition, one of a kind. Uniqueness is not subject to modification. A thing cannot be more or less unique and not very unique. I hope, therefore, that this slip remains a unique event, never to be repeated in MORNING EDITION's rarer than usual, if not unique, way of bringing us the news. Allan Krinsky, Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
INSKEEP: And we have a correction this morning. In a commentary, Frank Deford referred to New York Congressman John Sweeney as a Democrat. He's really a Republican.
MONTAGNE: Finally, our feature on Sid and Marty Krofft, creators of "H.R. Pufnstuf," had listener Karen Anderson dancing through the kitchen to the theme song, and listener Brenda Brown considered it a 40th birthday present. She writes, `I found myself singing, laughing and feeling like a kid again.'
INSKEEP: If you want to share your take on a story, go to npr.org and click on the button that says `Contact us.'
(Soundbite of "H.R. Pufnstuf")
Unidentified Singer: ...H.R. Pufnstuf, where you go when things get rough. H.R. Pufnstuf, well, you can't do a little, 'cause you can't do enough.
INSKEEP: This is NPR News.
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