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Letters to MSNBC

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Below is a selection of e-mail comments we’ve received in recent days to stories by our writers. Several have been edited for length.

• December 28, 2004

I would like to comment on a few of the articles that you have reported on the site in the past few weeks which do not state the reality of the facts.
One article on how cheap America is to the rich Europeans due to our strong euro. This strong Euro you speak about is killing us here in Italy also, we are not all rich here, we pay 5.50 a gallon for gas and about 6 USD for a gallon of milk. The statistics run by major supermarket chains here see a drop in sales in the fourth week of the month on basic food items because people cannot afford to buy milk until the next paycheck.  This is reality, not the few French shopping in New York.
Business Section, Airline and outsourcing.  The need to outsource the call center functions saves Delta xxxx per year.  It also cost them my business and I fly two times a month international -- Venice to the USA.  I refuse to use Delta due to their lack of ability to resolve a lost bag and the weeks spent trying to understand an Indian who did not really care where my bag was.  Goodbye to a high profit customer.
When reporting, you should strive to look at all sides of the issues and stop the brainwashing.
James Farley

I am writing concerning the recent issue of steroid use in professional athletics and the “message” it sends to America’s youth.  I think a much worse message is being sent by programs such as MTV’s “My Coolest Years” in which celebrates claim they were at their coolest when they were smoking, drinking, having pre-marital sex, cutting class, and barely graduating.  I’m not for censorship, just the use of some rational thought. Allow science, real science, to rule the issue, not the American Medical Association’s Diatribe, or political spin doctoring.  The NFL, NHL, NBA, etc ad infinitum should police themselves instead of Congress stepping into the realm of medicine and more importantly our medicine cabinets.

A suggestion: Photographs used in conjunction with articles can help the reader feel closer to the stories, bring about emotions etc.  Could you do everyone a favor and not allow photographs of dead children with grieving families close beside them?  I saw quite a few with the Tsunami stories, and example being .
Please use some type of discretion- or allow those that view your websites to be forewarned and use their own discretion when reading and viewing these pictures.  Maybe a “warning: graphic pictures which may disturb some viewers are within this link” or something to that effect.
My belief is that the ultimate drive in your publishing these type of photographs, is money.  More viewers, increase ratings, increase commissions from those that link to other websites, etc, etc, etc it all revolves back to money.
You have no knowledge of who may be viewing these articles and what type of effect this type of picture can have on the viewer…please allow a choice in what we view!
Christiana de Leon

• December 27, 2004

Monica Crowley ends the article with a statement that at least his election got us excited about politics again. I am a 55-year-old woman who is so disgusted with the politicians in this country I wish I could move to Canada. I feel my entire life I have been more and more disillusioned by our society as whole and I feel ashamed of who we are as a people in the USA..
It started with Kennedy getting killed and went on to see my classmates die for nothing in Vietnam. My belief in this country is faded and worn.
I'm not excited about politics and neither is anyone else I know.
Our leader is a liar and a cheat and half the country apparently believes in him. It boggles the mind and makes me feel alienated and mistrustful of everyone I meet.
Our country is split in half and Bush isn't trying to do anything to bring it together.
I am forced to read other countries newspapers to get a clear view of whats going on because the news is so messed up here you can't believe a word anyone says.
It seems there are no journalists anymore who want to write an honest story because they might not be popular and their newspaper might get sued.
Again I am ashamed of all of us.
Kathie Hansen

Mr. John Hartl's review of The Phantom of the Opera was off base and was delivered with an obvious altitudinal bias. The movie is not the Broadway show. And the broadway show is not the movie. It never will be. I loved Schumacher's vision. I love his movie. It was visually phantastic and extremely entertaining. The cast was tremendous, especially the multi-talented Emmy Rossum (Cristine) who was nominated for GG and has an outside shot for a Best Actress nomination. The Academy likes to recognize fresh faces (e.g. Keisha Castle-Hughes) and Ms. Rossum carried her movie with beauty, style and grace. Finally, at the end of the movie the audience applauded in my threatre in the San Francisco Bay Area and I have heard from other associates on the Internet that this same level of enthusiastic applause occurred in many theatres across Britain and the U.S during the initial December 12th and 22nd opening weeks.

Bill Hodges

I have greatly enjoyed your site ever since 9/11. I read it periodically from work to keep up with late breaking news. At this holiday time however, can you and your other story editors find some more uplifting and positive news to print? Or possibly have a recurring section of news dedicated to this topic? It seems the national and world news has been nothing but grim and downright bizarre the last month. I know there are good things happening in the world and those events should get just as much attention.

H. Kathleen Langone

• December 15, 2004

Mr. Lesko's ads and publications cause a great deal of confusion among the would-be small business community. Day-in and day-out I field questions from those who are trying to find a way to start their own small business.  Often times, my clients become angry with me when I tell them that I know of no grant program that will help them out. I work for a Small Business Development Center in western Maryland where jobs can be scare and many unemployed people seek employment through small business ownership. 
That dream is often a pipe dream and facing that reality without having sunshine pumped up one's skirt is hard enough. To hear that the dream is not only possible but could be free of charge can cause one to attain a pretty high, albeit false, high. All too often, I am the one who is the bearer of bad news.  I can understand a client's disappointment and misguided anger but I can do little to combat the tidal wave of misinformation that exists.
Mark Malec

• December 14, 2004

In your article I was expecting some honest answers,some honest evaluations of reality shows, but was quite disappointment.  Racism is the main and primary reason there is no diversity on reality shows.  White viewers want to see white people, plain and simple.  For me I would rather see this influx of reality shows banished from tv, than seek diversity in their casting.  Reality is bad for tv, we lose out on creativity and continue to drive a wedge between ethnic groups...whites cheer for white, blacks cheer for blacks, hispanics cheer for hispanisc, etc.  This is in no way good for diversity.
Eric Rutherford

Name: Marge Ghilarducci
Hometown: Berkley, MA
Please let me add my endorsement to the artcile on "Let Martha be Martha, Oprah be Oprah" (12/9/04).  My sentiments exactly!  I watch(ed) Martha to learn about gardening, recipes, crafts, and interesting "field trips. She is a master in her abilities in being able to relate to the subject at hand.  Whenever she has had a guest "expert", Martha was much more absorbed in the "project" than the person showing "how to do it".  She is enthusiastic for the education, but not the educator.  The old formula worked, that is how she amassed so many viewers.  Her show was not "broke" - they should NOT try to "fix" it.

• December 8, 2004

I can not believe the hype concerning what looks to be a delicious burger.  Although I can understand the concerns that Americans are overweight and need to trim down and eat healthier, there are those people who have the opposite problem. A good friend of mine has recently celebrated (at the age of 34) finally reaching 100 pounds. No, she was not anorexic, just could not gain weight. There are others that have great metabolism rates that would love this sandwich.  I myself had a very high metabolism till I hit 35 or so and never had high blood pressure, high cholestoral levels or had any problem staying thin.  Not so anymore with the staying thin part, now I have to work at it, but now I don't run out and eat something like that except on rare occasions. 
Teach people that need to eat healthier to do so and stop blaming the public's lack of knowledge or lack of will power on the entrepeneur that is marketing something not everyone should have.
Scott Calhoon

• December 6, 2004

Can we nominate the sports media for 'Whine of the Week' for their incessant complaining about the BCS? Believe it or not it is not that important to most people, and at least the BCS is something different if not perfect.

Does the Supreme Court not have better things to do with their time then to determine who can ship wine and where?  Spare me.
Karen Ross

I am all for having an open discussion on this topic, but so many in the media go for the easy "big-bad-wholesaler" target and do not explore any of the distributor arguments for the three-tiered system with what might pass for depth.  Give equal time to the other side and let the consumer make a really informed decision as opposed to an emotional one.  If the consumer remains pro direct shipping after that, then so be it.
Denise Ehrlich

While I agree that much can be revealed about a wine through swirling and smelling, I think you are placing far too much importance on these acts for the vast majority of wine drinkers who just want to casually enjoy wine.  Everything that the average wine drinker could ever want to know about a wine can be acheived through the tasting process, which as you pointed out, is inextricably linked to the sense of smell anyway.
One problem with placing so much importance on the act of smelling is that it gives ammunition for the snobs that are out there (to one degree or another).  ... Everyone enjoys wine differently. While the smelling of a wine is important to some (especially to those very passionate about wine), I don't see it as a crucial step to enjoying it.
Shawn Sprague

• December 3, 2004

Bill Murray is a treasure. Some people listen to specific songs to make them happy, or have some cultural salve for whatever discomfort they have. I work in LA during the week, and go home to my wife, son, dog, house above San Luis Obispo. So the other night, lonely in my Koreatown apartment, I watched 'Lost in Translation' and 'Rushmore.' Again. For the 100th time. Bill Murray is the gift of a good smile and warm feeling that no one can take from you.

Tom Allen

Mike Celizic is a good writer - a very good writer.  I strongly diagree (and am disappointed ) with his position on the steroids in baseball issue. The simple (and I must say juvenile) premise he thinks is the most important here is that "we shouldn't be suprised."  Fine, I'm not surprised.
But I am angry about it - and I have every right to be - and so do the atheletes that rightfully did not cheat.  Why is it cheating, and why is it anyone's business?  Simple - some of the substances are illegal.  Some of them are illegally obtained, and some of them simply sever the statistical tie to the past that this game has as its competitive advantage.  No slam dunk, no clock, no time sensitivity, no flashy displays, etc.  Just simple elegance - this does put a blemish on the game, Mike - and you've revealed yourself not to give a damn.
That's fine - but don't you dare tell me I have no right to be outraged - I do. I hope your next pieces are as good as those in evidence prior to your Giambi writing.
Best regards,
Sean Bannon