I cannot remember when I have read a more irresponsible, inane, inaccurate and infuriating attack on the cable television industry than that presented in the Aug. 25 Commentary authored by Tom Shales. His claim that the theft of cable television signals is "defensible" because, in essence, cable has been afforded the same First Amendment rights as newspapers is indefensible. Clearly, such an unlawful act is no more justifiable than were I to steal newspapers from vending machines because I thought they were priced too high, or I disagreed with what Shales had written, or the delivery people wouldn't stop throwing the paper on my roof! It is our hope that the absurdity of Shales' position will be recognized for what it is by The Times' readers and used for nothing more important than lining Big Bird's cage.
William R. Cullen, president
Southern California Cable Assn.