THURSDAY’S LETTERS: Duke Lacrosse, Saddam Hanging, ‘Battle of Algiers’

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By: E&P Staff

In today’s letters, a reader reacts to an article about how a local paper defended the Duke lacrosse players accused of rape, another reader takes issue with AOL’s showing pictures from Saddam Hussein’s hanging, and a comment on the parallels being drawn by anti-war activists between the situation in Iraq and the classic film “The Battle of Algiers.”

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Newspapers and the Duke Lacrosse Team

I found your article about the local newspaper’s coverage of the Duke Lacrosse case interesting. I suppose I shouldn’t have expected anything other than defense of the rightness of their ways, but as I was reading the words of the local paper’s editor, it seemed that all of Nifong’s supporters are trying to shield one another, and one of their arguing points is that some charges are still pending against the accused, and the DA still believes in the case. If Nifong actually does still believe in his case, at least we know that one reason for his past behavior was exteme stupidity. The same can be said for that birdbrained editor. It’s incredible that someone this gullible and naive is in charge of newspaper stories. The credibility of that newspaper must be approximately zero by now. And I don’t think those guys learned anything at all from their blunders. It sure doesn’t sound like it. They seem every bit as dumb today as they’ve shown themselves to be for the past year.

Kent Beuchert
Tampa, Fla.

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Saddam Hussein Hanging Pic on AOL ‘Distasteful’

I am distressed over the image of Saddam Hussein with a rope around his neck that is being gratuitously displayed, two weeks after the fact, on the entry page at AOL.com today. I feel this is in poor taste and desensitizes people to the value of human life in general. The image of any human being in the midst of execution is an image that should be presented cautiously and judiciously allowing the potential subscriber to have some part in whether this is an image they care to view.

Also what is the motivation of this image by AOL? Does this show what a strong and powerful nation we are? Is this the symbol of what we have accomplished in Iraq? As Americans is this an image we want to be associated with? Is this a political statement?

I think this applies to ethics and the relationship that journalists have with their subscribers. Do I have to consider everything that is thrust in my face? Do I have no rights as a reader/subscriber? Is this an appropriate image for AOL — which is presumably catering to a family wide audience? Do I need this served up with my morning coffee when I only wanted to check my email? If we let this pass, what is next?

I have directed this opinion to you because it is nearly impossible to direct this opinion to AOL who evidently is not interested in the feedback of their subscribers.

Reno Lovison

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Bush and ‘The Battle of Algiers’

I am entertained by the parallel drawn by fans of “The Battle of Algiers” between that conflict and the current one in Iraq. The old revolutionary generation of Arabs who forced out the French were heroes to the anti-war and New Left activists of the 1960s. However, by the 1980s, Algeria had developed quite an Islamic-fundamentalist problem of its own, with anyone looking European being kidnapped and mutilated, etc. This was all in spite of very secular, “progressive” leadership in Algiers, and in the absence of the bogeyman of an American presence in that part of the world.

The result was that President Bush appeared side-by-side with Mr. Boutaflika, one of the leaders from the revolutionary years, in one of his war-on-terrorism speeches from the Rose Garden. Possibly that press conference could be shown as an ‘aftermath’ clip with Gillo Pontecovo’s brilliant, but heavily dated production.

Mark Richard
Columbus, Ohio

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