Letters

Restraining the media on election night

While normally I agree with protection of First Amendment rights ("First Amendment Comes First," Aug. 3, editorial), premature disclosure of election results infringes on the basic tenets of democracy and the role of the people's voice in the transfer of power. It infringes by influencing future votes prior to the end of the election period.

The real issue is not whether the information can be disclosed (clearly a First Amendment issue), but when (clearly not). We certainly don't cry First Amendment foul when the names of accident victims are withheld pending the notification of family members. Nor should we now misuse the valuable protections provided by the amendment to help news organizations race each other to the punch in order to gain rating points.

There should be no problem in requiring news organizations to prevent any disclosure of election trends, results, etc., until the last polling station is closed.

Jose A. Mata Miami

Annoying News

I used to watch Headline News often ("CNN makes reporters part of the show," Aug 3), but no more. I detest their "new and improved" jumbled mess of a screen, crammed with weather, sports scores, stock news, news headlines, bestseller book titles, factoids, and useless graphics, not to mention the rushed talking of the anchors. It gives me a headache.

I have watched with dismay as more and more channels put distracting text and identification logos over their pictures. I hate those annoying on-screen logos, nicknamed "bugs," that are in the corner of nearly every channel. Some are transparent or used sparingly, but most are large and bright and sometimes even spin around and jump. I often must change the channel away from a program I want to watch because I find the bugs too distracting.

It appears that a clean, unspoiled TV screen image is a thing of the past. I suppose the goal is to make our TV screens look as cluttered as our computer monitors. Headline News is almost there.

Alan L. Light Iowa City, Iowa

A head of state, a shadowy past

Thank you for your report on Ariel Sharon's possible indictment for crimes against humanity ("Sharon begins to take war-crimes lawsuit seriously," July 30).

At a time when he and others in his government try to inextricably link "Palestinian" and "terrorism" in the minds of his constituents and the international community, it is an informative reminder of just who rules Israel.

It behooves Americans to ask why we so seldom read of the disturbing facts surrounding the leader of a country we shower with financial, military, and political support.

Dennis Nakashian Tucson Ariz.

Extra! Studying improves test scores!

From the Aug. 3 article "Mixed messages on math, as 12th-graders falter," it appears that the geniuses at the National Assessment of Educational Progress, an organization which tests American students, have discovered the cause of low math test grades in the 12th grade:

1. Students who watch TV two or three hours per day have low test scores in math!

2. Students who don't do homework have lower test scores in math!

3. Students who have teachers whose college major was not math have lower test scores in math!

Did they spend all that money to arrive at these amazing conclusions?

Paul Knox Buena Vista, Colo.

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