BROOKE GLADSTONE: And now some of your letters to On the Media.
BOB GARFIELD: Two hundred thousand dollars and worth every penny. He was the voice I waited for on NPR, and his replacements suck. Listener John Spielberg from Philadelphia is of course referring to ex-Connection host and for the moment at least Public Radio exile Christopher Lydon.
Our March 17th interview with Mr. Lydon prompted responses by the e-mail equivalent of the sackload concerning OTM's coverage of the firing. Larry Stein from Seattle voiced a commonly held sentiment that we tripped up by talking only to Mr. Lydon. Although it may not mean much in the larger scheme of things, said Mr. Stein, the issue did warrant a little point/counterpoint.
Richard Sheehan agreed and he criticized us for being overly concerned with the money aspect of the story. Public radio, he wrote, is not a religious order requiring vows of poverty from those who lend it their talents.
As for the man himself, e-mails were divided equally between those of you who'll miss him and those who breathed a sigh of relief for the radio silence, like Madja Monk [sp?] from Santa Rosa, California who wrote I hope this little piggy goes wah wah wah all the way home.
Curtis Deutsche [sp?] e-mailed us from Princeton University a few weeks ago troubled by a funding announcement he had heard. Listeners were informed that NPR is brought to us in part by Kuwait, he wrote, whose people and government wish to thank America for protecting it. What disturbed Mr. Deutsche further was that the announcement followed a news item on the recent bombing of Iraq. Does this jeopardize NPR's objectivity, he asks.
Well you didn't hear that on our show although I understand we're negotiating with the Taliban. In any event, later in this segment reporter Melinda Penkava looks into the private funders of public broadcasting -- just for you -- Curtis Deutsche.