Eric Burns' suggestion that the media should weigh the quality of celebrity political commentary before reporting it, and Wendy McElroy's discussion of the heartreak caused by adultery, generated a heated response from Foxnews.com readers.
Readers also responded to Ken Adelman’s column on Nelson Mandela’s criticism of President Bush and the looming war with Iraq, as well as to Steve Milloy’s article on the lack of proof that certain chemicals pose dangers to children.
Here is a sample of this week’s mail.
In response to Fox News Watch:
Greg Eubanks writes:
While I concur regarding the majority of this article, I do disagree with your assertion concerning the publication of (the views of) non-celebrity Robert Redford. I have never read the Ottawa Citizen. I trust that it is a fine and responsible newspaper. However, in my experience, many periodicals seem to have no compunction against publishing the nonsense submitted by the occasional numbskull. Sometimes I marvel at the drivel I read in my local major newspaper.
However, it would be nice if said publications would give less currency to the "star power" accorded to the celebrity and give their pronouncements the gravity that they individually merit.
Shawn Lynn writes:
I applaud Robert Redford for having the bravery to speak out in this post- Sept.11 world which attaches the word "unpatriotic" to every dissenting opinion towards the war on terror. He may have chosen his words wrong, and by using the name of McCarthy, he opened himself up to criticism. But his point is true: the easiest way to discredit the dissenter today is to dub his or her views contrary to our anti-terror campaign.
In, say, 10 years' perspective, I believe we'll marvel at the abundance of public policy that fell under the war on terror heading whether it qualified or not. This is the atmosphere I think Redford is blaming for some decision-making in the entertainment industry. Of course, he knows the studio makes decisions on the product, but it is in response to this pressure.
Frank W. Goodwin, Jr. writes:
Besides hiding behind our First Amendment, these people have no idea what they’re talking about. The majority of the celebrities commenting have never fought in a war, nor can they fathom what it’s all about. What they are about is the fight to keep our freedom so they can make their movies and live in their big homes, not having a concern on how peace is kept. I am also a 100 percent disabled veteran. Pass this on to Robert Redford, who I once had respect for.
Michelle Eichorn writes:
Money and the freedom of not having to be in the "real" world to buy bologna for the kids' lunches distorts these people. It is so easy to withdraw into yourself and think your opinions so wonderful, intelligent and thought provoking. When, in reality, their diatribe is nothing short of garbledy-gook "where do they come up with this stupid crap" spittle.
Russ Eggen writes:
As a news consumer, I don't care about how well a story can be told. I care about how well a story can be told and not lose any accuracy on what actually happened. Just give me the facts as they happened, and let the chips fall. I'll draw my own conclusions.
John Renard writes:
Last that I heard about "celebrity" was that it meant a well-known person esteemed for deeds or accomplishments. I suppose Mr. Redford and Ms. Sarandon would fall into that category, but hardly as international experts about weapons of mass destruction or the arts of warfare.
In response to ifeminists:
David G. Fern writes:
Each partner in a marriage conducts (or should conduct) every aspect of their lives with the other in mind. A marriage obligates each party to consider the wants, needs and desires of the other party, and to work together towards a common, mutual goal. The partner in a marriage who engages in an extramarital affair violates that contract and should be penalized for their behavior should the affair result in a divorce.
It is a sad reality that wedding vows are treated as "I do, until I decide that I don’t," and marriage in general is treated as an investment -- if one is getting an insufficient return it is simple to "cash out" with little regard to the effect this has on other human beings.
Audy Edwards writes:
Where did moral law come from? Did man just happen to say, "I think adultery is immoral?" Well, considering that one third of men and one quarter of women cheat, I don't think so. My point is that God determined what moral law is. When his moral law is violated then something has been immoral.
Steve Miller writes:
As an example, Ms. McElroy points out that, "There is nothing ideal about destroying families with children." While I can not disagree with this statement, she did not demonstrate that adultery destroys families with children. Nor did she address cultures that find adultery tolerable, if not acceptable (for both men and women). America is, after all, a melting pot of cultures. Should we not explore the opposing viewpoint in an effort to understand?
Rosa Jimmar writes:
Keep it for the fairy tale. Reality -- people cheat. Mostly -- men cheat. Why? That's an age-old question. And they do wish to use the line "it just happened." So, should we be adults after or before it happens -- for the sake of the children?
Christopher McKeon writes:
If you still love your spouse or value your marriage or care about your children, breaking it off, or never doing it in the first place, is the only best thing to do. Sharing your infidelity with your spouse is a recipe for disaster...ruined trust, years of fighting, possibly harm or murder. If a person is remorseful and determined never to do it again, take the secret with you to the grave. If you must confess, do it after 30 years of fidelity so that a spouse has something positive to compare the infidelity against. The harm to the marriage and to your spouse wholly outweighs the cheater's need to come clean, assuage their guilt or anything else.
Dan Miller writes:
I have always maintained that one who is adulterous cannot be trusted in other areas. If an elected official committed fraud in his business dealings, or violated contracts in real estate holdings, the media would run him out of office. Somehow, adultery is not seen in the same light, even though the contract of marriage is most often completed in solemn ceremonies in front of hundreds of witnesses, with very specific language.
And finally, the romanticizing of adultery is sickening. Top-rated TV shows like Seinfeld and Friends degrade sexual relations to the level of biological functions like eating or sleeping, while at the same time making fun of monogamous marriage relationships.
In response to Defense Central:
Jerome Bulkan writes:
Maybe Nelson Mandela should stop worrying about what the U.S. does and concentrate on the problems of South Africa. The AIDS crisis, crime, rape and unemployment have reached a critical limit in South Africa. Nelson Mandela should also focus his energies on his continent, Africa, where the problems mentioned above are more severe, and where civil wars and social unrest are plentiful.
Ralph Balsamo writes:
If we wanted Iraq's oil, we could surely lift the sanctions. However, now, once we practically annex Iraq, U.S. corporations will be able to get the oil at a lesser price and much more easily from OPEC or through the U.S. installed puppet regime. If the savings were going to be passed on to the average oil/gas consumer, I'd surely advocate for loss of civilian or military Iraqi and U.S. servicemen's lives. However, it won't be; the corporations will just give out bigger dividends that year, and larger contributions to the political candidates.
John Silis writes:
I'm wondering how many of these anti-war protestors are driving gas-guzzling SUVs and complaining about gasoline prices?
Christ Hadley writes:
Here is another quotation from Nobel Peace Prize winner Jimmy Carter: "Despite marshalling powerful armed forces in the Persian Gulf region and a virtual declaration of war in the State of the Union message, our government has not made a case for a preemptive military strike against Iraq, either at home or in Europe." He said that on Friday.
John Brayton writes:
There is nothing vile about Mandela's statement. Most Americans and the rest of the world believe him. Please remember how long it took America and Israel to denounce apartheid. It only occurred after our economic interests were threatened, and economics still set our policies today. Why do you think this administration is so alone on the Iraq matter?
In response to Junk Science:
Martel Hermann writes:
Over the years, many chemicals have been found to be harmful in many household products. Many chemical formulations have been found to be just as effective without use of the former culprits. Modern science is always discovering newer and better products, as well as re-discovering some old standbys.
All that being said, as long as alternatives can be found to chemicals that people find noxious, or feel that they have a negative reaction to, I don't see a problem. But when others want to legislate so called "safe levels" of certain chemicals, then where do we draw the line of reason? It is a hazy, ill-defined line at best now, only surely to get worse.
Einar Grondal writes:
It's good that someone is thinking along the lines of what all the chemicals we are piling into our environment may be doing to us. We have to start with confirming if these chemicals actually show up in our bodies at all. Personally, it seems obvious that these chemicals build up in our bodies, other environmental substances do.
As to if they can harm us, we also know they often do that as well. Before being admitted to a hospital, you are asked if you have an allergy to PVC or certain plastics--simply because almost everything from the catheter in your arm to the bottles containing your medications or I.V. fluids are made of it. Strictly speaking, this stuff is toxic. I'm an acupuncturist and see a lot of allergy patients. The greater part of them is allergic to environmental chemicals.