Letters: Conservapedia, Torture and 'Someday'
MICHELE NORRIS, host:
On Thursdays we read from your e-mails.
ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
And we'll start with some of the many comments we received about my interview on the alternative to Wikipedia, the communally written and edited online encyclopedia.
Mr. ANDY SCHLAFLY (Founder, Conservapedia): I think Wikipedia's attempt to legitimize the modern Democratic Party by going back to Thomas Jefferson is specious and worth criticizing.
SIEGEL: That's Andy Schlafly, founder of Conservapedia.com, which seeks to balance what he feels is a liberal bias in many Wikipedia entries.
NORRIS: I enjoyed the conversation on Conservapedia, writes Mike Walk(ph) of Orlando, but I felt there was one question not asked. If Wikipedia has a liberal bias and is open source, why are conservatives not editing articles on Wikipedia but instead choosing to start a competing site? A feature of open-source Wiki-information is that if you find something biased or just plain wrong, you edit it for balance and accuracy.
SIEGEL: Bill Smith(ph) of Auburn, Indiana, adds this. Your story about Wikipedia versus Conservapedia missed an important aspect. Wikipedia is not just an American institution. Since Wikipedia has articles in dozens of languages and doesn't cater solely to American political sensibilities, comparisons to the American conservative-liberal divide don't make sense.
NORRIS: Earlier this week, NPR's Kim Masters brought us the story of why human rights activists and some members of the military are objecting to portrayals of torture on television. They say it's a bad influence on American soldiers.
SIEGEL: Well, one particular bit of sound from that story caused some of you to cringe. It came from the television show "24," and it is listed in our transcripts as soundbite of finger being removed.
NORRIS: I never had a visceral response to a radio broadcast until today, writes Gene Snyder(ph) of St. Louis, Missouri. The sound of taking off someone's finger made me want to throw up. Though I recognize the importance of the subject, that clip was gratuitous. I would rather you not air that kind of material at all. At the very least, it deserved a warning.
SIEGEL: But David Ous(ph) of Fresno, California, was instead bothered by the objection to dramatized torture. He writes: Kim Masters' story highlights the huge moral grey area in which America finds itself today. I oppose our government's use of torture, but I am an ardent fan of "24." I would take issue with those who suggest that "24" is in any way portraying torture as a patriotic act. I think it's possible for a TV show or a film to portray torture without glorifying it.
NORRIS: An objection now to a story about comments the military's top general made this week about gays in the military. Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Peter Pace told the Chicago Tribune: I believe that homosexual acts between individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts.
SIEGEL: Well Kenneth Rapcheck(ph) of Mullica Hill, New Jersey, took me to task for my introduction to this story. He writes: Robert misquoted General Pace by saying that the general said homosexuality is immoral. He definitely did not say that. What he did say was that homosexual acts are immoral. We are judged by our acts. Homosexuality is a disposition, whether transient or deep-seated, and this disposition is never moral or immoral.
NORRIS: Finally, a response to my conversation with children's book author and the mother of three, Allison McGee. "Someday" is her ninth book. It traces the emotions of motherhood from one generation to the next.
Tonya Kolmiak-Selvi(ph) of Washington, D.C., was moved to tears. She writes: I thought I was well past post-partum blues. As the story unwound though, I remember that these are just the tears of motherhood and I am fated to such emotions because of my two boys. I kept crying as I listened and pushed on in my commute, rushing home to see my two little guys. Thank you for airing a story that reminds us moms of our common human experience.
SIEGEL: Well, if you have an experience that you'd like to share with us, write. Go to npr.org and click on Contact Us at the top of the page.
NORRIS: This is NPR.
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