Don't confuse news outlets with political commentary
Your July 19 article "Different news for different views" has some comparisons that I believe are imprecise and thereby misleading. The article says, "From the conservative Fox News Channel to the liberal radio startup Air America...." Fox is a news outlet considered conservative by some in the way that other news outlets (such as CNN and NPR) are considered liberal by others.
Air America is a radio commentary network - designed to give opinion, not unbiased news. It would be more appropriate to compare it to the many conservative talk shows on radio.
My point is that news networks increasingly are compared with - and considered the same as - commentary shows, such as talk radio, where opinions are designed to be freely and openly given. And now both are compared with a new entry, political documentaries, where with the help of Hollywood editing, the difference between fact and fiction is easily lost.
All three information sources - news reporting, political commentary, and political documentaries - are different, and I believe that they need to be judged separately and not confused with each other.
Regarding your July 19 article "The strange journey of Sgt. Jenkins": Although there are strange circumstances involved, one should not get carried away with total forgiveness.
The facts and circumstances of Sgt. Jenkins' disappearance should be investigated fully. This country cannot afford to have two sets of rules for our servicemen and women. Either the Uniform Code of Military Justice is carried out in all cases of violations, or else cancel the whole code. If this man deserted, then he should be punished.
Joseph S. Hill
Regarding your July 19 article "Russian art or religious hatred": The struggle facing the Russian Orthodox church is very similar to the struggle facing Christian churches in the United States and throughout the West.
Just as people of goodwill tell each other what beliefs they sincerely hold and find a place to disagree respectfully, the art community and "secularists" need to find a place to communicate their disagreements respectfully.
The secular should provide a forum for people of good will to discuss the ideas of the heart and soul, not seek to trample them with ridicule.
In response to your July 7 article "A fresh definition of inheritance comes into vogue": Ethical wills have been a Jewish custom for centuries. Many have even been published, and there is at least one such will published by Hebrew University Prof. Gershon Sholem, in English. My grandfather, who died more than 70 years ago, left an "ethical will." However, I am sure this was not exclusively a Jewish custom.
I have much difficulty in understanding the need for the sort of wills described in the article. If I have not succeeded in passing on my ethos, values, beliefs, standards, and life goals to my children during their formative years, then I have failed as a parent. If they choose to differ, so be it. And no amount of posthumous exhortation will convince them otherwise.
I believe that, apart from a knowledge of impending death by a parent of young children, such statements are made more for the needs of the testator than the heirs.
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