Readers write: Examining populism, family entertainment, lack of trust

Letters to the editor for the March 20, 2017 weekly magazine.

Courtesy of PBS 'Pioneers of Television'
'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' stars (from l. to r.) Gavin MacLeod, Cloris Leachman, Mary Tyler Moore, Ed Asner, Valerie Harper, and Ted Knight.

Examining populism

I really value all the careful thought the Monitor puts into handling the challenges of these times. I wonder whether a deeper look at populism might be useful, challenging and exposing the means and methods of the influence itself. I think this could benefit the world a great deal.

Peter Jackson

Bournemouth, England

Family entertainment

Regarding the Jan. 26 article “Mary Tyler Moore expanded America’s view of what a woman can be” (CSMonitor.com): Mary Tyler Moore was not only a TV trailblazer who embodied the modern woman, but her show’s genre provided entertainment well suited for family viewing. Television today is quite the contrary. The vulgarity and exhibitionism currently popular with viewers leaves little to the imagination. And the prevalent foul language is constantly being bleeped out, thankfully. Shows like that of the unforgettable Ms. Moore are sadly a dying breed. But we can all agree that Moore herself was indeed a class act.

JoAnn Lee Frank

Clearwater, Fla.

Lack of trust

Regarding the Jan. 30 editorial “Breaking the fall of trust in institutions”: It is puzzling to me why the public’s trust in government, business, media, and nongovernmental organizations is falling. Although anyone’s life can certainly have its ups and downs, now is the best time to be alive; yet many people don’t feel happy. But self-awareness requires us to understand that the darker side of human nature can induce unjustified pessimism unless that side is persuaded with facts. And it is up to us to actively seek those facts, not just throw up our hands and say “no one can be trusted.” Unbiased, impartial presentation and analysis always defeat fear and ignorance. At the risk of being a cheerleader, if more people read the Monitor, maybe their trust in institutions and humanity itself would begin to be restored.

Rick Soule

South Lake Tahoe, Calif.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.