Don't Switch Off Public Radio; PBS Provides Diverse Programs

Thank you for the article ``We Need Public TV, and Public TV Needs Government Support,'' Jan. 13. Let us not forget public radio, as well.

I have just had the pleasure of listening to a complete broadcast of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day ceremonies from Atlanta. It was brought to me from National Public Radio's ``Performance Today'' program and KRWG, the public radio station that serves my rural area.

I doubt that any commercially supported network would see fit to broadcast this important commemoration.

Newt Gingrich's assertion that public broadcasting teaches people ``how to think'' is ludicrous. Public broadcasting provides a diverse array of information. People who support and partake of public broadcasting are people who think for themselves. I contend that this is what Mr. Gingrich and his fellow demagogues fear. Jan Hurley, Silver City, N.M. Don't Switch Off Public Radio; PBS Provides Diverse Programs

How deplorable to find some of our new leaders working to pull funding from public television. Commercial television tries very hard to influence the public thinking through advertisements and programming that conforms to the ads.

It is two-faced to decry the onslaught of violence presented on commercial stations which appears to stultify and numb the public mind, and to remove funding for the only counterbalance I know. I've not heard of anything on commercial channels that matches ``Masterpiece Theatre,'' ``American Playhouse,'' or Ken Burns's ``Civil War.'' Instead of telling me ``how to think,'' I find public television enlightens, informs, and broadens knowledge. Liz Helmer, Ithaca, N.Y.

Reduce the deficit

Hats off to the Monitor for many excellent, well-balanced articles dealing with federal fiscal policy and the budget deficit.

I particularly enjoyed the back-page cartoon entitled ''Dynamic Scoring,'' Jan. 13.

I think it raises a critical question central to the debate: Can (or will) the American electorate apply credible and necessary political pressure for meaningful deficit reduction upon their elected officials in Washington, even when some of these same citizens lack the discipline to control their consumption - to save and to restore order to their personal financial situations? John C. Scatarige, Norfolk, Va.

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