Letters: N.C. Flag, Latinas For McCain
MELISSA BLOCK, host:
Our program sent your fingers flying yesterday judging from the amount of e-mail we received.
My interview with L.F. Eason brought in lots of reaction. He's the state employee in North Carolina who took retirement from his job rather than accept an order to fly flags at half-staff to honor the late Senator Jesse Helms.
MICHELE NORRIS, host:
Many of you wrote in to praise Mr. Eason, but some of you objected to his decision or to our approach to the story. One of those e-mails came from Daniel Mortensen(ph) of Madison, South Dakota. He said he was deeply angered. Mr. Mortensen writes: I am not particularly concerned for Mr. Eason's views but rather that NPR afforded him the national platform to trash Senator Helms without any credible counterview, and there are many.
BLOCK: From the other side of the spectrum, Antoinette Burton of Urbana, Illinois called the interview very disappointing. She took issue with the questions I asked about whether Mr. Eason had given thought to the possibility that his employees might disagree with him. Ms. Burton writes: You missed the point about a citizen standing up against Southern racism. I can only imagine the strategizing that went on at NPR on this story so as not to offend Helms' supporters.
NORRIS: Speaking of politics, there was also a report on the Nevada group called Latinas for McCain. We heard statements about Barack Obama like this one by the Latina group's national ambassador.
Ms. TIBI ELLIS (National Ambassador, Latinas for McCain): He changed from Muslim to Christianity, and then he renounced his church because he was confronted with conflict.
NORRIS: And that brought clarifications from our reporter, NPR's David Greene.
DAVID GREENE: For the record, Obama spent part of his childhood in Indonesia, but in a secular household. Obama stresses he's a devoted Christian.
BLOCK: Well, despite the clarification, some of you were still left frustrated. Elizabeth Isbester(ph) of South Bend, Indiana writes: The women were so obviously ill-informed about Senator Obama's religious background. I can't help but wonder if there was a deliberate shock-value motive behind the inclusion of their comments.
NORRIS: And Ray Wilson(ph) of Bellingham, Washington saw an opportunity. I'm thinking of starting a white-male-morons-for-Obama group, he writes. I was wondering when you could send your interview team so I can fill everyone in on my inside scoops on John McCain. Among Mr. Wilson's so-called scoops, there's this: McCain never returned the cup of sugar that he borrowed from his neighbor 23 years ago.
BLOCK: You can send us your opinions and thoughts, go to npr.org and click on Contact Us at the top of the page.
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