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'Integrity vs. a Man's Life'

August 28, 1987

I was astonished at the lack of support shown by journalists and assorted "television experts" for KNBC-TV News Director Tom Capra's handling of the hostage incident (Part I, Aug. 21).

If pulling the plug on a terrorist broadcast constitutes "almost an arrogant position" because of the risk to life, as USC Prof. Joe Saltzman claims, then refusing to pay ransom for hostages is no less "arrogant"--and President Reagan should be applauded for shipping missiles to Iran.

Having watched the Channel 4 news for years, I sometimes experience the slightly unreal feeling that I know the newscasters personally. Certainly I don't want to see any of them injured or killed, and I'm sure Capra doesn't either. But a news director--like a U.S. President--has to look beyond his personal feelings and the immediate crisis to see long-term consequences. Reagan failed in this responsibility. Capra did not. For that, he and KNBC deserve praise, not criticism.

DOUGLAS BORTON

Los Angeles

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