We get letters . . .
Heading today's topics are columns on a "60 Minutes" episode and Soviet spokesman Vladimir Posner.
The "60 Minutes" column (May 21) blasted Harry Reasoner's interview of a 7-year-old boy, Marc, and his mother about the boy's claims of being sexually abused by his father. I argued that "60 Minutes" violated the child's privacy and should not have put him on national TV, regardless of the mother's approval.
The Posner columns (May 23 and 26) chronicled the Soviet propagandist's media binge in the United States. The mail:
I'm sure you must be aware that all the rhetorical questions you posed to the "60 Minutes" people could just as easily be asked of you. And all the mud you slung could be slung right back.
Let's put it this way: I didn't even know about little Marc before reading your article. And now I know his full name, his families' names and many details of his victimization . . . thanks to you. So would you term your article the third chapter in his abuse?
--ELIZA GARRETT SIMONS, Woodland Hills
My heart went out to that young boy and I couldn't believe that Harry Reasoner would actually participate in something so pathetic. What are we coming to? I think you told us.
--PHYLLIS VERNICK, Encino
Would Reasoner subject his own child to such an ordeal?
--MIMI JAFFE, Montebello
Why were you so vindictive about a woman who is trying nothing more than to get her children out of the hands of a pervert? Do you have such problems of your own that you were not able to handle this subject in a professional manner? Is it possible that you were a victim of sexual abuse or that you yourself were an abuser? Are you a divorced man who is trying to get back at an ex-wife through your column?
--MARY HERBERT, Mesa, Ariz.
I grieve inside for this little boy . . . for his past, present and future. To be molested once is bad enough, but twice (by being on TV) is pathetic. And of course, what's worse is that if his own mother didn't have the sensitivity to look out for her 7-year-old's best interests, "60 Minutes," our reputable and respected news program, did no better. Maybe there should be a law against exploiting children under a certain age in the news.
--LYNN BROWN ROSENBERG, Marina del Rey
As a neighbor of the family, I know the whole story. It's apparent that you do not. Why do you get space to spew your venom? You now look like a horse's ass in two states.
You know very little about the issue of sexual abuse of children, the damage it does to personality development and the problems in adulthood these victims encounter. Most professionals in the field of child abuse agree that facing the experience of abuse is the major factor in healing the damaged emotions of victims. This process works if the victim is 7 or 40.
--CHARLEE A. LEWIS,
Your cry of outrage against the tastelessness and harmfulness of the child abuse sequence implies a set of standards for TV which I do not believe exist. Why be surprised or provoked to objection by this TV close-up of obscenity, when the daily content of TV is composed of a stream of such obscenities. The TV medium, almost without exception, is used as a tool to exploit its audience.
ARTHUR HOYLE, Los Angeles
Any mother who would parade her child on national TV is sick. If a child can't look to his mother for protection, then who does he have? The mother is as sick as the father she accuses.
TINA HUFFMAN, Arcadia
Since I lived most of my life in the Soviet Union, I know what Vladimir Posner stands for--an illegitimate, repressive, bloody and uncaring dictatorship of Communist Party bureaucrats. You correctly mentioned Soviet persecutions of Jews. Yet Posner is defending a regime and a system that also persecutes Christians, Muslims, dissidents of all kinds, from Socialists to right-wing nationalists. Vladimir Posner is an opportunist. He should not be invited to speak to American audiences. Face it--he is trying to put a pretty face on a beast!
SOLEMEN KREPKY, Pasadena
My God, you have it on the authority of Marshall Goldman that no one "distorts the world as much as Posner does." Oh, really? Ever listen to Alexander Haig, say, on a roll as an "expert analyst" on "Nightline"? Does it occur to anyone that Haig or Henry Kissinger, another frequently consulted expert, should be labeled propagandists? If Posner distorts and sometimes lies--as, of course, he does--then his distortions and lies are at least refreshingly different from the distortions and lies which shape domestic American opinion.
Each time that Posner appears on American television it must be stated as part of his introduction that he is in the employ of the Soviet government. Simply to say that he is a Moscow commentator is not enough.
N.B. MARTIN, Visalia
Now, in the guise of "people to people contact," we usher Soviet spokesmen to our televised debating chambers. As if the vacuum of real information created by the media is somehow mitigated by interviewing the Soviets' professional propagandists.
E. T. BRYAN, Irvine
Maybe you're worrying too much. I think most viewers are desensitized by constant attempts at persuasion which, through overuse, has become one of the least effective ways to communicate.
JOHN DEGATINA, Studio City