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Feedback: Weekend letters to the editor

Friday, December 22, 2000

Despite criticism, Fox is a winner

Allan Walton and Rob Owen recently combined for a fascinating piece ("Cable coverage reaps bumper crop of viewers," Dec. 15). Good fiction, if not news.

Their article rated the winners and losers of the election. They found Bill O'Reilly and Shepard Smith (Fox News Channel) to be losers.

Hello! Clearly, Fox News has emerged as The Winner in this election. Ratings have spiked incredibly! They are overtaking CNN. Why? Because the population is sick and tired of the liberal slant provided by the national and most local media, the Post-Gazette included. Just as Dick Cheney declared, "It's time for them to go," it is likewise time for the liberal media to go. As my recent cancellation notice should tell you, the public will no longer tolerate the leftist slant of much of the media ... alternatives now exist!

Mt. Lebanon

Analysis or opinion?

In the Dec. 15 article about cable coverage of the election, the CNN "anchor team of Bernard Jackson [sic] and Judy Woodruff" was mentioned.

Perhaps Bernard Shaw has already been retired and has been replaced with someone named Bernard Jackson, or perhaps the writer mistook Mr. Shaw with the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who also has a program on CNN. The possible confusion of Bernard Shaw for Jesse Jackson has some truly interesting implications.

But I think I should mention that the article was very much mislabeled. It was not even close to "analysis;" it was clearly "opinion." The views offered were very much based on personal tastes, not objective evidence.


Tim Russert 'underrated'

I agree with your assessment of television's news coverage of the recent election. I also believe that Tim Russert is the most underrated newsman on TV. Attention Bill O'Reilly: Tim is what "Fair and Balanced" is all about.

Speaking of which, Fox news may claim a 300 percent increase in listeners, but what is that in real numbers? Do they come anywhere near those of CNN or the Networks? Cable news needs hot topics, such as this particular election, to stay alive, otherwise they would be broadcasting to themselves and carrying advertisements for kitchen products.


Studio Z was a first for the South Side

The Dec. 7 article "Art of survival" highlights what we in Pittsburgh's South Side have known for a generation: Kathleen Zimbicki and her art gallery, Studio Z, are a community resource.

When Kathleen opened 25 years ago Carson Street was not considered the prime location for a business. All that has changed because folks like Kathleen recognized the neighborhood's potential to be a bright, lively place to live, shop or visit.

As a pioneer of South Side's comeback Kathleen deserves our thanks for her foresight, hard work and talented eyes and hands in bringing an artistic sensibility not only to South Side but to the whole Pittsburgh region.

South Side

Balanchine made the changes

Upon reading Peg MacPherson's complaining about too many children in lead roles in PBT's "The Nutcracker" and claiming that Clara and Prince were once danced by PBT's principal dancers, the immediate response by many of us long-term ballet subscribers was "Which 'Nutcracker' did the writer see, and when and where did she think she had seen it?"

PBT has been performing the Balanchine version for 17 years, and as we who attend it annually are aware, every dance role from Sugar Plum to Tea is still performed by principals, soloists and up-and-coming company dancers.

Any problem Ms. MacPherson has with PBT's production of "The Nutcracker" should be directly addressed to choreographer George Balanchine, who made his artistic changes to Marius Petipa's original in 1954 with his New York City Ballet (perhaps Ms. MacPherson views that company as rank amateurs). If she were to rent the videotape of the New York City Ballet version, she would be able to see that PBT added (with permission from the Balanchine Trust) three adult roles to the choreography. Only in Pittsburgh can she see the lovely Snow Pas de Deux, my personal favorite sequence. And in Coffee (aka "The Arabian"), Balanchine's female solo was changed to a sensuous pas de deux that receives accolades at every performance.

Yes, there are children in PBT's "The Nutcracker." Balanchine decided that the children in the story should be played by (gasp) children. Most of those parts are not dance roles. The ones that are dance roles, such as the Polichinelles, have age-appropriate choreography and are not adult substitutions. Indeed, the only children's roles added to the production in 10 years have been eight tiny mice, whose nanosecond on stage merely serves to inflict more terror upon Mary during her nightmare.

MacPherson's lack of knowledge is evident. She can be excused. However, the Post Gazette has at its disposal experts who do know such information. A newspaper's job, after all, is to elucidate, not to distort. The Post-Gazette missed an opportunity to do some major clarification.

Fox Chapel

Other voices on airwaves

If William J. Bezego doesn't like what is being broadcast over KDKA's airwaves, then he doesn't have to listen to it! Unless somebody has tied him to his chair and forced him to listen to the station, he has more choices than ever regarding what to listen to. WPTT's Lynn Cullen and even KDKA's Mike Romigh both espouse views that are fairly liberal. Or turn on 89.3 FM and listen to some nonpartisan classical music. I hope he realizes there are many other alternatives to "predictable and boring talk radio."


Planetarium confusion

A very disturbing article appeared in the December issue of the Northside Chronicle. The article dealt with a group that supposedly plans on restoring the Buhl Planetarium, and re-opening it as a planetarium. By itself that isn't an issue, but why haven't we heard about this group in the past seven years that the Buhl has been closed?

Instead, the timing is just appropriate enough to put a question mark over the plans of the Children's Museum to incorporate the Buhl in their expansion plans. The Children's Museum's initiative has been the first honest, well-thought-out program to save and utilize a single-purpose structure that will be very expensive to renovate.

The museum's director and board are to be commended for doing their homework, promoting a responsible and realistic plan, and involving community agencies and potential funders from the beginning of their efforts. We are possibly being presented with two clear-cut choices. The first is an established proposal with national implications to create a 21st-century world-class facility in a much-maligned part of town, or re-establish a facility with questionable historic value and a redundant purpose.

I challenge the mayor, City Council, and the residents of Pittsburgh to be unanimous and unequivocal in our support for the Children's Museum's plans for the former Buhl Planetarium.

Highland Park

KDKA Radio's got it right

This letter is in response to Mr. Bezego's letter about KDKA (Feedback, Dec. 15). First, every time the rating books are released they are printed in the Post-Gazette. The last time the ratings came out, KDKA had twice the listeners than its closest competitor, WBZZ. It sounds like it is doing something right. Let me ask Mr. Bezego something: What are Lynn Cullen's ratings? Also, when is the last time we've have an unbiased newscast from NBC, ABC, or CBS? Or, because they tell you what you want to hear, you think they are being fair? Have you seen the electoral map for the election yet? You might want to rethink your position after I tell you this: In the United States there are 3,111 counties and Al Gore only won 677 of these, meaning our next president won the other 2,434 counties. In Pennsylvania, Gore only won 17 of 67 counties! It sounds like KDKA has its ear to the ground and giving the people what they want. KDKA, keep up the good work. As for Mr. Bezego, if you don't like the programming, change the channel.

Troy Hill

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