Sony advertisements degrading to women

Editor:

Reading the Monday, Sept. 24 issue of the Guardian, I was really offended by the ads for Sony Screenblast.com that were published.

Sony’s advertising used photographs of attractive young men and women — with headings that read “”Use me,”” “”Manipulate me,”” “”Share me,”” “”Enter me”” — to market its newest product.

I found it particularly ironic that the “”share me”” one was positioned alongside an article on how pornography leads to violence against women.

Perhaps the Guardian can solicit more tasteful, less pornographic and more professional advertising in future issues?

— Sylvia Castelluzzo

Editor:

Where is the balance?

Your news story, titled “”Illegal alien tuition bill proposed”” (Sept. 24, 2001), contains lengthy quotes about the personal philosophy of UCSD Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Joseph Watson and interviews with two students, both of whom agree with Watson.

Polls suggest that most Californians find the idea of rewarding illegal immigration very objectionable, so your reporter should have had no trouble finding opponents to quote.

If Gov. Gray Davis signs AB-540, those who have entered our country illegally will be given benefits that U.S. citizens from other states are denied.

To allow illegal immigrants in-state tuition rates is wrong. To allow illegal immigrants access to student aid programs such as Cal Grants is wrong.

This bill is fiscally irresponsible and morally indefensible. AB-540 is a slap in the face of our legal, law-abiding citizens and the laws of our land.

Responsible journalism demands balance, and UCSD students must insist upon it.

— L.M. Zink

Editor:

As the instructor of “”The Rhetoric of the News,”” referred to in Margaret O’Neill’s editor’s soapbox on media bias (Sept. 18, 2001), I was pleased to see that O’Neill is continuing to wrestle with journalistic responsibility. I would like to take issue, however, with part of the characterization of my course.

O’Neill writes that “”The instructor argued that objectivity — the act of representation without extraneous factors — is not possible.”” While I did, in fact, argue that objectivity is not possible and that it is not even a reasonable goal for journalists, the definition of objectivity used in class was very different from the one used in this article.

For the purposes of the class, objective reporting was defined as the presentation of facts, separated from values. Because there is always an infinite set of facts to choose from, some selection process is inevitable. Journalists and editors need to decide which stories to report on, which aspects of the stories are relevant, which sources are reliable and informed, which words and photos to use, et cetera.

The decisions concerning which facts to present will inevitably be guided by some set of values: either the journalists’ personal values or the more impersonal, institutional value systems of news-gathering organizations.

Objectivity, or the separation of facts and values, is therefore a theoretical impossibility. This does not mean, of course, that journalists should not strive to be fair, accurate and responsible.

— Jonathan Markovitz

Department of Sociology

Muir College Writing Program

Editor:

In the aftermath of World War I, Europe lay in ruins. The resulting inflation, desperation and rage led to the rise of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler, and ultimately to the second World War. Realizing our mistake, the United States was quick to rebuild Europe and Japan after that second war. In the process, we made longstanding friends and allies out of former enemies.

In the 1980s, the Soviet Union attacked Afghanistan. Although we were slow on the uptake, the United States finally gave material aid and training to the Afghan fighters. In the process, we trained and supported Osama bin Laden.

Against all odds, Afghanistan prevailed against the mighty Soviet army, ultimately leading to the downfall of the Soviet Union. This would certainly qualify Afghanistan as a natural ally, at the very least.

And how did we repay Afghanistan? We went away and left it in ruins, just as we did Germany after World War I. Under the circumstances, the success of the Taliban was entirely predictable. What’s surprising is that the results weren’t worse.

After the Soviet downfall, it would have cost us far less to rebuild Afghanistan than we’re now spending on this one attack. As we learned with Germany and Japan, it would have been a small price to pay.

George Santayana said, “”Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.””

Nowhere is this more true than in Afghanistan today.

— Peter Rowat

Associate research professor

UCSD Institute for Neural Computation

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