Tabloid Tycoon Tainted
Interesting article regarding British tabloids ["Tabloid Bites Man," July 25]. But it failed to point the finger at the guiltiest party: the British people. The tabloids' unethical and sometimes criminal tactics were well known for years, yet millions of people bought the News of the World every Sunday, effectively giving the press a pass to pursue stories by any means necessary. Those who paid money for improperly acquired information are no less guilty than those who sold it.
Natick, Mass., U.S.
While Catherine Mayer's article provides a good overview of the scandal that ended the News of the World, her representation of British tabloids is misleading. They are popular not just for salacious celebrity gossip but also for their unpretentious coverage of politics and hard news hardly an equivalent of the National Enquirer or Star. Unlike in the U.S., politicians and journalists in the U.K. pay attention to all media, ignoring reductionist class distinctions between different publications.
Perhaps this fiasco of Rupert Murdoch's is an opportunity to rein in media outlets, many of which have thrown ethics to the wind. The public has a right to knowledge, and the press has a responsibility to deliver it. However, lines have been crossed so frequently, they have become totally obscured.
Peter I. Volny,
Fountain Hills, Ariz., U.S.
Britain's phone-hacking scandal is one example of the abuse of power by the press. The concentration of media assets by a single press baron is a clear and present danger to democracy.
R. K. Barnes,
Feeding the World
The article "A Future of Price Spikes" [July 25] is subtitled: "Population growth is outstripping food supplies. Unless farm productivity increases rapidly, the cost of food can only go up." It's pretty obvious that the problem is not farm production, it's population growth, but you never mention it clearly.
The article failed to mention the more humane and technically viable approach of limiting the growth of human populations by noncoercive means such as assisted family planning and promotion of women's health education. These solutions are cheap, sustainable and permanent. Doubling the world's food production and not addressing population growth simply kicks the can down the road until it becomes more difficult, if not impossible, to address.
Red Hill, Australia
Red Hot or Not?
The Chinese government's initiative of invoking Red culture fails to strike a chord with those of us born in the '80s, when China went on a fast track of opening and reform ["Red State," July 25]. Our generation grew up in a much changed environment, where we longed to connect to the world. Red culture is deemed unfashionable and has become our latest subject of ridicule. I wish our leaders in China would one day wake up and realize the idea is not only unpopular, but also counterproductive.
Wild About Harry
Richard Corliss's "All Is Well" [July 25] does not do justice to the Harry Potter series. J.K. Rowling's brilliance first inspired me to read when I was a child, and it has shown me the importance of courage and true friendship as a young adult. All Corliss seems to have learned is that kids can go 21/2 hours without having to pee.
Bothell, Wash., U.S.
Don't Read His Lips
Joe Klein's column on Grover Norquist perfectly encapsulates the GOP's decline into silliness ["The Power Broker," July 25]. Years from now, it will be a political cautionary tale: how congressional Republicans turned down a serious offer to cut $4 trillion from the federal budget because they'd signed a pledge dreamed up by a Washington lobbyist who thought a governing political party should model itself after a brand of soda pop. Republicans today are like a summer blockbuster: they mount a monstrous ad campaign for an ill-conceived main attraction.
Park Ridge, Ill., U.S.
Norquist is just another half-baked ideologue, but the politicians who limit their ability to do the job they were elected to do by signing his absurd no-tax pledge are contemptible.
Sequim, Wash., U.S.
Betty Ford's Legacy
With the passing of Betty Ford, we are reminded that addiction is a disease [July 25]. We spend millions filling our prisons with users. It is a dumb, inhumane policy.
Carla Z. Kania,
Sonoma, Calif., U.S.