Letters From the May 9-16, 2016, Issue

Letters From the May 9-16, 2016, Issue

Letters From the May 9-16, 2016, Issue

Too much Trump!… Crime and collective punishment… Not-so-ancient history… Many bites of the Apple?…


Too Much Trump!

I suspect I will be but one among many of your readers choosing to comment on the ironies apparent in the March 28/April 4 double issue. On page 3, the editorial by John Nichols, “Trumped by the Media,” complains about too much Trump (which there certainly is) by talking about him. On page 5, there are two quotes featuring T. (I hate using his name) plus a photo, along with an article by Eric Alterman on… you guessed it. Then a refreshing and too-short break until page 11, which features yet another photo of T., this time kissing a child (who is, as he or she should be, crying). Fortunately, T. then disappears (I think) and the reader can breathe again. This evil man thrives on attention. Let’s not give it to him.
Leda Schubert
plainfield, vt.

Thank goodness John Nichols put into print what I have been complaining about to my friends for months now: If Trump manages to be the GOP nominee or even pushed into the White House (God forbid), the national media can look to themselves for having put him there. Instead of being all goggle-eyed over his antics, they should have been debunking his exaggerations and falsehoods right from the start. We need them to do the job of vetting these people for us, not panting after the latest outrage for their headlines.
Wendy Weidman
gig harbor, wash.

So the Democrats are now concerned that their “golden girl” is being Trumped by the media? Well, let’s see now! The Democrats allowed Debbie Wasserman Schultz to hijack the Democratic nomination by scaring off all other viable candidates and setting such a pathetic debate schedule. She manipulated the media into downplaying any interest in the Democrats’ voting process and the fact that she had engineered a fait accompli in place of a real democratic election.

People don’t want a fait accompli; we want a fair election, and there is nothing fair about this one. We don’t want to be taken for granted.

The Democrats are now unhappy that Trump is sucking all the oxygen out of the room—but that’s exactly what the Democrats asked for, and it seems they just got it.
Barbara J. Lee
lee’s summit, mo.

The mainstream media have a lot to answer for, and it goes back to the time when news stopped being a service of the networks and became a profit center. In this election season, we have reaped the whirlwind. All Trump had to do was be media­genic—he didn’t have to spend a dime! And that’s what he did. His competitors had to spend advertising and PR money while the MSM gave it away to Trump for nothing. It’s a disgrace! It’s time for an overhaul of the election system. The whole process has gotten out of hand and is hurting more than helping. We need some federal regulation, and we need it ASAP.
Gerrie Blum

Crime and Collective Punishment

As a jurist, I can only agree with Laila Lalami [“Savage Fantasies,” March 28/April 4]. There is no such thing as the guilt or innocence of an entire nation or race. Guilt, like innocence, is not collective, but personal. Under German criminal law, any perpetrator will therefore be punished according to his guilt. The highest German court, the Federal Court of Justice, decided this in a leading case back in 1952. Thankfully, the German judiciary is more sociopolitically literate than some German journalists. Justice, not vengeance, must be the goal in a liberal and civilized society.
Michael Pfeiffer
neuhausen auf den fildern,

Not-So-Ancient History

In light of the virulent anti-immigrant sentiment widespread in the United States these days, the reminder in the March 28/April 4 issue of Thomas Nast’s 19th-century anti-Catholic cartoons is more than welcome [“Papist Invasion”]. As a scholar of American Catholicism, I have on more than one occasion reminded others of the similarities between current anti-immigrant discourse and Nast’s portrayal of Catholic bishops as salivating crocodiles coming ashore to consume American youth.

But I can’t help also being amused by the appearance of this sidebar in The Nation, since, in the late 1940s, The Nation itself published a series of ferociously anti-Catholic articles by an associate editor, Paul Blanshard. The articles were later published in book form as the best-selling American Freedom and Catholic Power. As Philip Jenkins, by no means a Catholic advocate, observes in his 2003 book The New Anti-Catholicism, “While Blanshard does not conjure up crocodilian Catholic bishops, the image is certainly implied.”

It sometimes surprises me that I, an Irish-American Catholic, am such a dedicated reader of The Nation. And I imagine your Nast sidebar has Paul Blanshard turning over in his grave.

Marian Ronan
new york city

Many Bites of the Apple?

Re “Apple Is Right to Challenge the FBI” [March 14]: In 1994, I retired from my post as the chief of the computer and communications security office of the Defense Logistics Agency. In the summer before my exit, I attended a conference in which one of the presentations analyzed the recent development of a practically unbreakable encryption system. The FBI had already realized that this breakthrough would inhibit its ability to read other people’s mail. The presenter was, ironically, interrupted when someone came into the room to give us security folks some bad news. The FBI had just then released a demand that any device implementing this unbreakable encryption method include a Law Enforcement Access Facility—LEAF, they called it. We were interested in making communications secure, and we knew—from experience—that anything designed by men could be compromised by men. This was an open issue when I retired. Nothing much is new about anything.
Frank Dixon
madison, va.

Justice Still Denied

Tim Atkins deserves adequate compensation [“Exonerated but Still Judged,” March 28/April 4]. Even $30,000 a year for 30 years would be inadequate.
Charlotte E. Edwards


In “PATH of Glory” [April 25/May 2], Michael Sorkin wrote that the steel used in the new World Trade Center transportation hub “weighs in at an astonishing 15,250 tons” and attributed this figure to The New York Times. In fact, the source for that figure was architect Santiago Calatrava’s firm.

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