Lesson for US media: be more like the BBC

Regarding John Hughes's Feb. 4 Opinion column "Lessons from a BBC blunder": Let's not rush to attack the BBC. Cries of whitewash are still ringing over in Britain as well as from reporters close to the BBC.

We may never know what really happened regarding David Kelly's apparent suicide, but we do know that, like President Bush, Tony Blair was intent on selling war in Iraq. Few of us would be surprised that intelligence reports were "sexed up" to justify invasion. Isn't that pretty much what happened over here?

If we had media as skeptical of the powers in office as the BBC, perhaps we would get better reporting in this country.
Kathryn Byer
Cullowhee, N.C.

Nothing personal

Regarding Godfrey Sperling's Feb. 3 Opinion column "Reading between Demo-cratic primary lines": Mr. Sperling concludes that Democrats' "passionate dislike" of George W. Bush is because Bush simply "rubs them the wrong way." Come on. I dislike Mr. Bush's policies: the dismantling of our nation's environmental laws and the reckless tax cuts/deficits, to name two. I could care less if Bush himself is "cocky and arrogant." Please give us Democrats a little credit for the ability to make political judgments based on more than "just not liking" a politician.
Anne Macquarie
Carson City, Nev.

'Degree' of influence matters

Regarding your Feb. 4 editorial "Primary Screams": Doesn't degree matter? The point to make is, to what degree did John Kerry make legislative decisions based on paying lobbyists? Did John Edwards support legislation that directly helped trial lawyers? Who among the group that includes President Bush and the Democratic candidates has shown the greatest degree of allowing special interests to influence their actions in public life? These are the questions to ask.
Stephen Drinkard
Sandpoint, Idaho

Democracy supersedes Aristide

Regarding your Feb. 2 editorial "A US Hands-Off in Haiti": President Aristide does face a very vocal opposition, whose protests have grown in recent months to a fevered pitch.

It's worthy of note that the opposition has refused to participate in elections. Since the US in turn refuses to recognize elections without the participation of the opposition, this has left the nominal president of Haiti quite powerless.

Those who disagree with Aristide's policies and even his leadership style ought to consider the importance of a democratic and constitutional transition of power. Many in the opposition have called for a coup to replace Aristide. This would certainly jeopardize Haiti's nascent democracy and invite a return to the rightist dictatorships that have ruled Haiti for most of the past century.
Myles Duffy

Protest grows in Brooklyn

Regarding your Feb. 4 article "Brooklyn brouhaha: the controversial drive to host a sports team": As a resident within the bootprint of the plan to build Ratner Arena in Brooklyn (actually my living room is where center court would be), I am deeply and actively opposed to this plan on obvious personal grounds, but ethical grounds as well.

This is nothing but a land grab brought on by political hubris and greed, shrouded in misinformation and blind boosterism. It's incumbent upon those pursuing this inappropriate development to present actual studied facts and alternative ideas for any development that would take place on these 20 or so acres, half of which are private property.
Daniel Goldstein
Brooklyn, N.Y.

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