Unfair to CBS News

Any reasonable reader would be forced to ask if responsible journalism is being compromised at The Inquirer based on the fiction-passed-off-as-fact central theme of "CBS Evening Blues" by Gail Shister, on Sunday. The article used unnamed sources, who contended they knew what was on the minds of senior CBS News executives, even though Sean McManus, president of CBS News and Sports, refuted those rumors clearly, emphatically and on the record.

Perhaps most shocking and irresponsible is that among the sources who refused to identify themselves were members of a rival news organization in direct competition with CBS, people who would hardly be considered objective.

The outstanding recent reporting by the CBS Evening News and Katie Couric on the Don Imus firing, the Duke rape case, and the tragedy at Virginia Tech are evidence of the solid journalistic footing the broadcast is on. We are proud of our program and our anchor and believe the future is bright for CBS News.

Paul Friedman

Vice President
CBS News
New York

Insightful analysis

From a former journalist in TV, with an Emmy, please accept my thanks for Gail Shister's balanced, insightful analysis of CBS News. I watch all three newscasts. (At 47 it's still a habit.) As the father of two daughters, I want all glass ceilings shattered. I respect Katie Couric for doing this.

I want her to succeed not through "bookers" or producers, but through the complicated work it takes to "Get it first. Get it fast. Get it right." That would be Walter Cronkite. Not a bad example.

Richard Frohlich

Winter Park, Fla.

A place for Santorum

Thank you for including Rick Santorum's reasoned voice on your commentary pages. It's refreshing that The Inquirer will allow itself to be a megaphone for a man who compared the Democrats to Hitler and said gay marriage could open the door to incest, and who argued that the news media were aiding terrorists by reporting on deaths in Iraq.

As for his fundamentalist, if not deranged, stance on abortion, I recoiled in horror to learn in the Washington Post [April 18, 2005] that when his wife had a miscarriage (something that I wouldn't wish on anyone) they decided to take the 20-week-old fetus to his in-laws' home in Pittsburgh where they "took photos, sang lullabies" and spent "several hours kissing and cuddling" it with their children ages 6, 4 and 11/2.

Thank God he's out of the Senate.

Cyril Mychalejko

Washington Crossing

Abstinence funding

Re: "Sexual abstinence in a complicated path," April 24:

Amy Bleakley bemoans the use of abstinence programs. She points to the government's $176 million cost of funding this as "fiscally, politically and scientifically irresponsible."

Might Bleakley feel the same way about government-funded programs for AIDS awareness? Should funding cease for any disease where some individuals knowingly choose to engage in reckless behavior as well?

Using her logic, there should be no programs aimed against drunken drivers, no warnings on cigarette packs, no anti-drug programs, because some individuals will not heed the advice presented.

How dare she! Abstinence programs serve an important purpose, and I applaud our government's funding on this issue. If this is one area where my tax dollars are being spent, then it's value is worth every penny to me, and to many others.

Hannah Dougherty Campbell


Co-sleeping the norm

Re: "Co-sleeping deaths," The Lightning Round, April 24:

Comparing the number of co-sleeping deaths to the number of deaths from child abuse is like comparing apples and oranges. Am I to surmise that it is safer to abuse my baby than it is to sleep next to him?

The editorial mentions that "other risk factors were often present in co-sleeping deaths." Indeed. How many involved parental use of alcohol or drugs (even antihistamines or sleeping pills)? How many were due to overdressing the baby; a soft mattress surface, such as a waterbed; extra pillows or blankets; gaps between the mattress and wall?

Safe co-sleeping has been the norm in most cultures since time immemorial. Sleeping close to your baby facilitates bonding and breastfeeding. The proven health protective benefits of breastfeeding (including decreased risk of "crib death" and a lower incidence of child abuse), especially in poor populations, should be the focus of all prenatal and infant public-health campaigns.

Deirdre Finnegan