Letters

Bad reception
I read with great interest your piece on KERA ["Pulling the Plug," August 31]. If the slant of the article had not been so petty, it would not have held my interest for the length of time it took to read the article.

As one of the three co-chairmen of the recent Capital Funds Campaign for North Texas Public Broadcasting (KERA, KDTN and 90.1 FM), I had the opportunity to observe both Richie Meyer and Susan Harmon on many occasions each month over a two-year period. While each of them worked extremely hard in all phases of the Capital Funds Campaign, a lot of the credit must be given to the staff that they assembled over the years of their tenure.

While I am sure that not all of the former and current employees of North Texas Public Broadcasting would share my enthusiasm for the great job which they have done, I believe that it is commendable that the organization that Richie Meyer has been in charge of for a lengthy period of time has been able to substantially increase the membership, improve the quality of programming available to its viewers and listeners, and operate in a fiscally responsible manner without expending more dollars than the stations were able to bring in.

I can only hope, but not expect, that our local, state, and federal employees (who, in theory, are also working for us) could do as good a job as Richie Meyer and Susan Harmon. It would be wonderful to raise additional monies to do local programming. I would only hope that public television will continue to have the money available to produce the only election specials that were aired in the last general election and later rebroadcast on commercial television at odd hours.

I have always enjoyed reading the Dallas Observer for its unique perspective. In this case where there is no dirt to be found, I think you and your reporters should just "lighten up."

Richard Rogers
Dallas

Nobody's fooled
Who does this Redbeard ["Good reception," August 31] think he's kidding? Only last December he was on the air harping about the wonderful virtues of a rare Jethro Tull Christmas song he just played, and now he wants us to believe he's breaking new bands?

This dope has been Mr. Play-It-Safe, Stick-To-The-Boring-Format since he started in Dallas radio. [Redbeard] points out that "The Edge just added the Toadies last week when the friggin' album came out last fall," which is when he was still putting the Beatles and Eric Clapton in heavy rotation.

Is it any wonder that Q102's ratings sank to the lowest point in a decade as Redbeard ignored the new-rock tidal wave and kept his head in the sand of AOR rock? Every day Redbeard proves his vast ignorance with his cue-card delivery as he introduces each "new" band during his afternoon show. He sounds like an elementary school principal clumsily introducing songs by bands he's never heard of at the junior-high prom. You're not fooling anyone, Redbeard, because your record speaks for itself.

Kurt Sermas
Dallas

I have been visiting Deep Ellum on and off since 1987 and was totally unaware that musicians down there owed so much to local radio. Why, it only took Tripping Daisy four years to be heard on Dallas radio. And the playlists of local talent abound--amounting to about 10 songs from about four or five groups.

Currently, as the Observer pointed out, KEGL, KTXQ, and KDGE are all claiming to have "legitimized" local music. And while I do recognize Q102's new recognition of local talent, the predominant thought is "too little, too late." Since the departures of George Gimarc and Wendy Naylor, The Edge has moved at retarded speeds to bring locals to light. And the only thing Jay Michaels seems to know about Deep Ellum is what marketing companies from L.A. have sent through his mail slot.

In all my time roaming the streets, peeping in clubs and chatting with bouncers, I have never seen or heard of anybody from any of the radio stations coming down just to catch someone's show. The fact is that none of our local airwave personalities visits these clubs, and [they] have "discovered" nobody in the process.

John Cullen
Dallas

The Nation of Islam affair: Violence is easy
It was sad to read that Charley Read, father of Minister Jeffery Muhammad, believes the boys who stole a cash register from the Westcliff Mall got what they deserved--a caning ["Black man's burden," August 10].

What children deserve are caring, literate, and educated parents. "You don't punish children into good behavior, you teach them." It takes time and skill to raise well-adjusted children.

Violence is easy and stupid. Jeffery Muhammad and his father are no better than the uneducated parents who are bringing up these misguided children. They are part of the problem, not the solution.

We should not say, "Stop Crime, Back the Blue," but "Stop Crime, Educate Yourself and Your Children." In other words, "Spare the Teaching Rod, Spoil the Child."

Cynthia DiBetta
Addison

Peccadillos, public and private
Your point was well-taken that The Dallas Morning News can be accused of inconsistency in a comparison of the Tatum incident with the News' exposŽ of Rick Brettell's similar troubles. However, I am not convinced that the inconsistency was totally unjustified--or at least seems understandable, as the approach that most humane people would have taken, having found themselves in the quandary of the News' officials on this occasion.

And for whatever my impressions may be worth to you, I'll tell you that my original perception of your motivations in publishing your unnecessarily detailed account of Mr. [Henry] Tatum's indiscretions [BeloWatch, July 27] did not jibe with your most recent plea that you "did not write about this matter with a sense of glee--nor out of a vendetta against the News" [BeloWatch, August 10]. In fact, that quote describes very well the inference I derived from reading your July 27 account, and judging by the letters published on August 10, I was not alone in that perception.

I felt that one indicator which gave away your inordinate chortling (beneath the surface of an oh-so-carefully contrived ostensible objectivity) was the way in which you drew word pictures of the minute details of the incident, describing the state of his male organ, and the manual stimulation method. That was uncalled for.

Very few men have not, at some time in their lives, succumbed to the temptation of a surreptitious, opportune sexual encounter. Any man reading this need only recall the details of such an episode in his own life to understand how devastating to his social, family, and professional life would be a thorough recounting, in a newspaper, of the titillating details.

Of course, Aunt Matilda and the homophobes will be predictably scandalized, but you can also expect that a significant percentage of your readership will privately feel a sense of "There, but for the grace of God, go I," and will identify and sympathize sufficiently with Mr. Tatum's plight to feel personally betrayed by the Observer. You would have done better to have left it alone.

Time was when journalists did not feel compelled to expose the peccadillos of everybody who happened to find themselves in the public eye. I'm not at all sure that the current tell-all fad is in the public interest. Does the public have "a right to know," or "a need to know"--or even a desire to know all the intimate details of the sexual gratification extremities to which a person might be driven, just because they happen, as you put it, to "hold a position of public influence and trust"?

Frankly, I think that, for instance, Mr. Tatum's embarrassing private sexual needs, if left private, could be expected to have absolutely no detrimental influence upon his proven ability to function as an effective public informant. Oh, if a trusted public official goes berserk and masturbates in the middle of Main Street, that's news properly reported; but when a man performs his sexual gratification act in an enclosed ambiance which he has been led to believe is private, to put that act on "Candid Camera," so to speak, and reveal the intimate details to the world at large, to me, represents a despicable, hypocritical, unwarranted character assassination.

The fact that the News and other media sources have long been doing such things, and apparently refrained, in this instance, only because one of their own is involved does not, in my view, give you carte blanche to tell all.

Would the public have been better off--did we have some sort of "right to know"--about the sexual dalliances of FDR, JFK, and MLK at the time they were making their social contributions? Would wide circulation of detailed descriptions of their sexual indiscretions have helped anybody? Certainly not! We'd simply have been deprived of their contributions.

Thomas Griffin
Dallas

Wasted vice: cops belong on the street
Your Belowatch columns on Mr. [Henry] Tatum [BeloWatch, July 27 and August 10] should call everyone's attention to the need to prioritize. Should we use taxpayer finances to continue [the Dallas police's] active role [in] entrapping citizens for the purpose of collecting additional revenues?

I grant you there is a law prohibiting public lewdness. There is also a law prohibiting spitting on the sidewalk, etc. If this were a perfect world--and God, how many times has that phrase been uttered?--businesses that serve in the exploration of one's sexual fantasies and desires may have no need to exist. Human beings would be blessed with better sense. And everything would be perfect.

But sadly, it's not. And to remind us all, Mr. Tatum was charged with nothing more than a misdemeanor crime, a public nuisance. Some threat to society.

Our law enforcement agencies have far greater responsibilities. That's what this should bring our attention to. Had that vice officer been assigned to the streets instead of hidden inside a safe establishment, watching adult videos while in wait for a victim, perhaps there wouldn't be such a desperate cry for new recruits.

Name withheld by request
Dallas

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