Readers Write

Are journalists 'torchbearers' of democracy?

In the Feb. 9 opinion piece "Gore's off-the-record irony," the author's statement that Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism teaches that they (the press) are "the torchbearers of democracy" highlights the prima donna attitude of the press.

Though the Bill of Rights simply guarantees the right to a free press (free from government meddling), modern journalists have come to believe and behave as if they are the fourth and most critical branch of government. This belief is found not only at schools of journalism, as noted above, but also in the mantra that "the public has a right to know" and the corollary that if the press is denied access or information, our very democracy will be threatened.

Part and parcel of this attitude is that the press is beyond reproach, because they are unbiased, trained professionals charged with reporting the events of the day. The reality of these attitudes on the part of journalists explains the growing divide between the public's perceptions of the press as biased, sensationalist, and of unreliable accuracy, and the press's perceptions of themselves as doing a critical job well, in a tough market place, to an unappreciative and cynical public.

The result is a decline in the purchasing of news, while journalism wrings its hands and complains that we the public aren't qualified to pass judgement.

Kirk Jamison Louisville, Colo.

The revolutionary Anne Lindbergh

Your Feb. 14 article "Anne Lindbergh: poet of the inner life" was most pleasing to me because in essence Mrs. Lindbergh started the revolution of women.

In "Gift from the Sea" she points out that women have minds of their own and can amount to something if they aren't considered just slaves to their husbands and families (not her words). Mrs. Lindbergh could probably have done much more, had she not been married to one of the most well-known men in the world.

When Betty Friedan's book "The Feminine Mystique" came out, I organized a Great Books discussion on both slender volumes. I sent invitations to all known Great Books groups in southern California. The response was staggering. All these women were unhappy about what they could have been/have done were it not that (at the time) a "woman's place was in the home."

It is wonderful that mothers are so important to the home and to their progeny, but few of us have achieved much of our potential.

Any men wishing to argue should start their comments with the name Sarah Josepha Hale [the pioneering 19th-century editor and writer]!

Marjorie Morenus Bedford, N.H.

Pride and Army fashion

Your Feb. 15 front page article "Army fashion flap points to deep divide" struck a chord with me and, I assume, every other Army serviceman or woman who has pride in their particular unit or division.

A "Ralph Lauren makeover to instill esprit de corps" by the use of a beret of any color indicates the ignorance and misunderstanding of the military, and of the individual serviceman or woman who takes pride in an individual unit.

To me it would be like passing out the Congressional Medal of Honor to each and every service person regardless of their contribution to the duty and privilege of serving in the armed services.

President Bush, in trying to unify the country, is tearing it apart by allowing this to stand and as commander in chief should counter this action immediately.

Walter Stockman Douglass, Kan.

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