'Jacko' story shows how media sells sensationalism

You raise a question in your Nov. 24 article, "Michael Jackson story: Is it really that big?" that actually is an indictment of the mainstream media (and indirectly, our society). Like a rich father who grants his children their every wish, the media have done exactly that with the American public. There is absolutely no interest, on the part of the media, in the well-being of the public. There is no concern for society's broader psychological fabric. The media feel they have a right to pander, to titillate, and to "inform" the public, regardless of the consequences.

Journalism has been "yellow" in America for many years. But it's been so mainstreamed and pasteurized that sensationalism has become a legitimate element to news. Indeed, the public now craves and demands it.

What an appetite the media have created.

P.T. Barnum would be proud.
Voyle A. Glover
Merrillville, Ind.

Thank you for your article. It saddens me deeply that our nation's media make such a circus out of celebrities in the news. A 30-second report would be more than enough! I would much prefer to hear updates on our servicemen and their sacrifices or on other people who make a difference in the everyday lives of fellow citizens than have to be inundated with Michael Jackson news or any other person's "life storm." Sensationalism isn't good journalism in my opinion.
Valerie Pope
Pasco, Wash.

Keeping ballot initiatives populist

Your Nov. 19 editorial "Schwarzenegger's New Idea" discussed the California governor's plan to "keep going back to the voters in ballot initiatives." You mentioned that this is a populist way to govern.

If Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger really believes in going to the people, then every voter should receive a mailing giving both sides of each initiative. This way voters can make an informed choice. Unfortunately, one of the problems with the current initiative and referendum process in many states is that big money influences the voters.

Ballot-initiative campaigns should be publicly funded so that both sides have an equal chance to publicize their message.
Paul Feiner
Greenburgh, N.Y.Town Supervisor

Bush is not to blame for Iraq

Regarding G. Jefferson Price's Nov. 21 Opinion "A turning point in the Iraqi mess?": It's sad how so many so-called experts on the Middle East blame the president for the situation in Iraq. Such people ignore the acts of Congress required before any action could be taken. They also ignore the history of the situation - and the fact that something definitive had to be done.

So long as the Russians and French had a vested interest in Iraqi oil, so long as the French had a huge financial stake in the banking aspects of handling and controlling the UN oil-for-food program, and so long as the Germans had heavy business interests in dealing with Saddam Hussein, the UN was never going to act to end Hussein's reign of terror.
Mike Robar
Gahanna, Ohio

On the right bike path in Oregon

Regarding your Nov. 19 article "Happy trails": Of note is a bike trail being completed in Oregon. It runs from the foot of Mt. Hood along the Willamette River to downtown Portland, going past the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. The entire path (called the Springwater Corridor) has been funded and is nearly complete. It's an absolutely beautiful trail and a tremendous asset to the area. Luckily for us, it goes right past our doorstep. Our 5-year-old son learned to ride his two-wheeler on it!
Brad Nostrand
Portland, Ore.

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