Readers React: Bad News, Bad Manners, Bad Policy readers responded enthusiastically to this week’s mix of issues, including Eric Burns’ commentary on the dismal state of local news and Wendy McElroy’s take on the gender conflict over reproductive rights.

Many readers agreed with Robin Wallace’s column on cell phone bad manners. Ken Adelman’s column detailing U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix’s power to control U.S. foreign policy on Iraq also generated an enormous response.

In response to Fox News Watch:

Camille Bagwell writes:

I quit watching local news a long time ago. Every evening it started with a shooting, murder, robbery, fire or rape, and it got worse from there. The last thing I want to see before I go to bed is all the carnage and slaughter outside my door. I would like to end the day on a little more positive note. Of course, they do always have a five second "And before we go.." humor ending to the newscast. Like that is supposed to make the past 30 minutes just disappear from your mind!  We have about five different local news programs, and none of them are worth my time! 

Jerry Wright writes:

I think your comment about putting the news back into local news is correct, however it should also include the network news. We need more news and less opinion. News people seem to think their listeners/readers need to know what the news is and also what they should think about it. We really don't need to hear some news person’s biased opinion of what the news means to us. Americans can figure that out for themselves.

Fred Lindstrom writes:

Having been on the sales side of both local and national broadcasting for over 19 years, I could have told you this same information years ago. I truly feel local newscasts stories’ lack in depth, insight and context. They filled time more than they relay information." Plus, they portend to be experts on topics that in many cases they don't have a clue of what they are talking about. Hence, their credibility goes out the window. The study by the "Project for Excellence in Journalism" should be mandatory reading for every station manager and news director in every market.

Anonymous writes:

I see very few "in depth" reports on either of the three main news networks. All day long it is sound bites.  Ten seconds for this story, and 12 seconds for that major story. The rush to be the first to the scene and to report the story first has led to grievous and massive errors. I do not feel that the 24-hour news stations are in search of truth, nor in-depth coverage. Rather, it is for any excuse to break away for a "News Alert," or to show off any of their "cool flash graphics" that multimedia specialists have produced. 

Dan Mehlhorn writes:

I would have made one other point: the local news injects bias into their cut and paste reporting through ignorance of the subject material by the reporter/producer involved.

In response to Straight Talk:

Scott Hente writes:

Besides the extremely rude practice of stopping a conversation with someone to answer this annoying little ring, it's amazing how little people realize that most of us don't want to hear about all of the details of their personal and/or business lives. I'm sure you'll get countless examples, but my personal favorite is the prostitute standing outside a Las Vegas casino, audible to 50-or-so people, talking to her employer and complaining about her experience with the customer she had just left.

Dale Stewart writes:

Ain't it the truth? But it isn't about manners; it's about paradigms. The cell phone is the ultimate tool for creating a me-centered universe. "I no longer have to pay attention to the world around me, I can call and talk to someone about me!"  Face it. In our society, nothing is as important as me.

Ken Higman writes:

Originally, I thought maybe I was just too sensitive about people's cell phone usage. They have a right to communicate, right? But I just can't believe the conversations people have in public without regard to who may be listening. It's difficult to ignore one-sided conversations when you are in such close proximity. I am amused by the sight of friends walking along the street or shopping together -- each with a cell phone at their ear talking to someone else. Why bother spending time with someone if you are just going to talk to somebody else on your cell phone? It clearly states a person considers the person on the other end of the phone as more important than the person he’s with.

Don Allison writes:

You may not have noticed but we live in an age of sleaze and bad manners. Cell phone pollution is simply an artifact of the age.

Robb Johnson writes:

I also agree that of the thousands of conversations that I've had the great displeasure of overhearing, I'd say that less than 2 percent are really something that couldn't have waited until another more appropriate time. There definitely should be some kind of consequences put in place for the rude, careless "phone collective" that exists out there today, whether it be "public nuisance" fines, traffic tickets, or what have you; I'm behind them 100 percent. I think the rude behavior would come to a quick halt if the people sitting immediately around the offender were allowed to give them a good, swift jab to the mouth -- without fear of any repercussion.

Anthony C. Cross writes:

This mobile phone user believes people who protest public mobile phone use are resentful because they can’t listen in on both sides of the conversation. They are insatiable voyeurs.

Bob Purcell writes:

Etiquette and manners of any type are not taught today. Families don't eat dinner together, watch TV together, or play cards as a family. That's why every member of the brood needs a cell phone: so mom can find out where Johnny Jr. is at 9:30 on a school night. Who could find the time to teach them about common courtesies let how to hold their fork or sit in public? Excellent article, unfortunately those who need to read it are to busy talking on their cell phones.

In response to ifeminists:

Glenn Goldschlager writes:

Of course you are correct, but isn't this a symptom of a bigger problem that is a society that has no set boundaries? Whether it be divorce, abortion or out of wedlock births, there is no longer any personal responsibility left anymore.

Robin Orchard writes:

About 10 years ago, Barbara Amiel wrote in The Sunday Times Magazine that women have the choice to prevent pregnancy.  Victims of rape and incest need all the support and medical attention possible so that their emotional and physical needs are met. Women whose lives or health--not merely convenience--are threatened must have access to the appropriate medical care. These situations are needs, not choices. 

Dennis Kline writes:

The courts have already -- very clearly and rightly -- stated that when men engage in sexual intercourse, they have consented de facto to the minimal responsibilities of fatherhood. A minority of women feel that this "de facto" should not apply to them, and that somehow "choice" occurs the morning after. But common sense tells us that the only "choice" which men and women collectively have is not to have sex with one another. 

A woman, for all practical purposes, cannot rip a baby from her own womb. Thus, she has no personal choice once she finds herself to be pregnant. Doctors, on the other hand, do have choice. Like mercenaries, they determine if they will kill the baby for hire or not.  Our laws do not permit women to abort, but they do permit greedy and unethical doctors to abort. The truth of the matter is that abortion has become a billion dollar industry in America.  I find that sad.

Kimberly J. Kohn-Tierney writes:

I have seen first-hand how easy it is for men to be raped of any rights that they were under the mistaken impression they had. It sickens me how easily we discard a father's role in raising his child, but God forbid he should not pay his child support. I have been on both sides of this equation. The only answer is equal rights for both sexes, and not special rights for one.

In response to Defense Central:

Mike Schwartz writes:

While on the face of it you would appear to be correct as to our current lack of a clear line drawn in the sand, you know as well as I that our president would never leave the U.N. in charge of our national security. When the time is right, we will decide when enough is enough. Saddam will fall, we will find weapons of mass destruction not admitted to, and while Blix attempts to appease, we will strike with fury. No matter what the naysayers predict, a house of cards is only a house of cards.

Warren Updike writes:

Blix is a fact-finder, not a decision maker with respect to U.S. national security issues.  As long as he reports the facts as he finds them, George W. and crew are very much able to make decisions in our interest. I don’t see Blix being in the position of "giving the go-ahead to the president." 

How, exactly, he pursues his mission is another matter. If done with bias and punch pulling, that will diminish the value of the process in which case the U.S. and allies can make a decision based on those facts. In fact, the better he does his job, the less control the U.S. is liable to have over the outcome as the U.N. will be in a stronger position. Failure to pursue the inspections in the most aggressive, creative and effective manner diminishes the worth of the effort, reducing the degree of influence the U.N. will have, and placing the greater burden on the U.S. to decide whether to use force or acquiesce.