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LETTERS

Media Mayhem

April 12, 1998

I don't worry about Jerry Springer ("The Rage Meister," by Greg Braxton, April 5). He's just this week's media sleazebag du jour. He'll go the way of Morton Downey Jr. (Remember him?)

Who worries me? The people who watch him. You folks have told television's programmers that betrayal, humiliation and cruelty are interesting to people like you--good fun, topics for water-cooler conversation. Maybe you comfort yourselves that the sorry people embarrassing and hurting each other in front of millions of avid viewers deserve what they get. They're not like us. They're beneath contempt. I hope you're right.

My fear is that in Jerry Springer's America, nobody's life is too small, or sad, or private to considered "beneath contempt." Not even yours.

RICHARD WADHOLM

Sylmar

What are you wasting valuable newspaper space on Springer for? What ever happened to intelligent reporting on interesting topics? Springer? Who doesn't know that appealing to the lowest common denominator in America brings in ratings? Was Morton Downey Jr. that long ago? Or "Married . . . With Children"? Please! Who hands out these assignments?

You see, the article is a waste because people have to be able to read to understand it, and those of us who do read aren't shocked at all by the "phenomenon" of Springer. What's shocking is that adults put that show on. What's shocking is that, with a handicapped daughter, his sensitivity to the human condition is summed up by his pride in being able to "take care of her forever" by creating a show that exploits the misguided, confused, uneducated and volatile personalities of America. He's not trying to help anyone but himself.

But you missed that, you just wasted space "reporting it." Take a side, Mr. Braxton, show a little backbone. In other words, be a journalist.

MARKUS FLANAGAN

Los Angeles

The greatest event in the history of television: James Cameron vs. Kenneth Turan on the next "Jerry Springer."

BRENT ASPLAND

via e-mail

The most pernicious effect of Jerry Springer's show is that it not only brutalizes and dehumanizes its participants, but also brutalizes its audience. Witness the truly awful comment by the hairdresser quoted in the article--she laughs so hard at the fights that she falls out of bed. The sense of disconnect in that statement is tragic, in the most profound meaning of the word--these are human beings, as flawed as they are, not animals in the zoo.

What have we become? What are we becoming?

ALLEN LEVY

Culver City

I was and am really disappointed that the editors stooped so low as to put Jerry Springer on the cover. Come on, you can do better than that . . . I hope.

BOBBY HERBECK

Long Beach

Anything that human beings do, no matter how disgusting, hurtful or immoral, can be rationalized so that it appears no harm is being done.

I feel nothing but shame and sorrow for the utter indecency that is the "Jerry Springer Show." Harm is being done.

RON WELLS

Corona del Mar

Editor's note: After press time for last Sunday's Calendar, producers and distributors of the series announced that they were responding to criticism and cutting back on the show's violence.

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