On Publicizing the President's Private Life

Congratulations on the Monitor's even-handed reaction to the Starr Report on President Clinton's private affairs and for your wise decision not to include the most lurid parts of them in your newspaper. It is reprehensible that an independent counsel appointed by Congress to investigate the public actions of Whitewater could demean its purpose by spending $40 million to come up with nothing but the tawdry details of a very private affair.

The report was unnecessarily repugnant and could serve only the political goal of embarrassing the president. The fact Congress indiscriminately distributed this through the Internet, available to children of all ages, makes this even less fathomable.

The information necessary to prove the president was lying need not include such intimate details, let alone make them available to the general public. This is not a Watergate break-in or even a Whitewater; it is a private affair conducted by two consenting adults, one of whom happens to be the president.

Why can't we judge a president's actions by the way he runs the country and his responsible actions in our relations with other countries? It is too easy to say Clinton should resign. That just says to the American public, "Let my problem go away." This needs to go through its process so we can grow along with the presidency.

Charles Hinkley

Sedona, Ariz.

I applaud the decision of The Christian Science Monitor NOT to publish the independent counsel's report in its entirety. Nearly every other media outlet in the nation has become a participant in the industry of publishing pornography overnight. Absolutely none of the media Web sites has taken any precaution against the viewing of the contents of the Starr Report by minors.

I'm a Web-master and my site has a policy of not linking to any site that carries content material that is suitable only for adults. How am I supposed to justify a link to any newspaper's web site? Others in your profession have suddenly become publishers of porn - who show no concern for the welfare of the children who browse their sites.

Don E. Z'Boray

Austin, Texas

Forcing a smile

In response to David Clark Scott's Homefront column "Dare to Smile" (Sept. 9), several months ago I noticed a sign at a Wal-mart checkout urging customers to report to management any cashier who didn't greet them with a smile. The sign struck me as a uniquely raw manifestation of corporate idiocy, and an insult to cashier and customer alike. Forbid that my presence should be responsible for bringing another empty grin into the world.

Now, Safeway's "smile policy" has raised the idea of paternalism to new heights of Orwellian absurdity. Is this an American supermarket or a Stalinist collective? Have working conditions at Safeway deteriorated to the point that employees will only smile if so ordered by their political officer, um, store manager?

Corporate dictums are no substitute for an enjoyable workplace. Perhaps, rather than simply issuing commands, Safeway executives might consider giving their cashiers and stockers something to smile about - say, better conditions, better benefits, better wages, more respect, or even a little autonomy.

Liam Otten

St. Louis

McGwire's 62nd

With all the wondrous eventfulness of Mark McGwire's record-breaking 62nd home run, yet another miracle occurred: Douglas Looney wrote a completely positive column in "McGwire's Classy Climb to a Hallowed Summit" (Sept. 10)! A marvel indeed!

Jean LeRoy

Via e-mail

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Only a selection can be published, and we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number.

Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to oped@csps.com

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