BOB GARFIELD: And now for a few of your letters. Last week, consumer advocate Gary Ruskin explained why he supports on-air disclosure when advertisers pay for product placements on TV shows. Terence McKenna of Dover, New Jersey wrote in to say that he thinks Ruskin should (quote) "find another gig. "A long time ago, consumer advocates like Vance Packard tried to frighten us into believing that we were pawns to any number of sophisticated manipulators," McKenna writes. "Yes, we are manipulated, but we are manipulated as much by commentators on Fox as we are by the cereal box we spy in a Seinfeld episode. Every new way of selling seems intriguing and exciting, but equally, as devices become familiar, we become inured to them. Probably as soon as Mr. Ruskin figures out how we've been manipulated, we are becoming bored."
BROOKE GLADSTONE:Clark Hoyt, Washington editor of Knight Ridder, writes that my interview with reporter Walter Pincus (quote) "left the false impression that the Washington Post was way ahead of other media in fact-checking the Bush administration on the war in Iraq. "In the critical period leading up to the war, the Post's coverage mostly reflected official White House and Pentagon views. Pincus wrote on the Post's front page, for example, that intelligence officials believed that Saddam Hussein would be toppled by a coup on the eve of an American invasion. Knight Ridder, the nation's second largest newspaper company, was virtually alone in reporting that senior military officers and intelligence officials believed the administration was overstating the dangers posed by Saddam, exaggerating his ties to al Qaida and downplaying the dangers of a new war in the Middle East. The Post is a great newspaper, but it was way behind the curve on this story at a time when it could have mattered."
BOB GARFIELD:Victor Kress of Seattle, Washington wrote in to say: "add his voice to the (quote) 'chorus lauding'" our show. "But that's not why I'm writing. I also wanted to express my joy when I went to your web site and found that I could download mp3s of the last program. Now that I can download mp3s, I can listen any time. I'm looking forward to listening while I bike to work in the morning. As far as I'm concerned, your mp3 experiment is a huge success."
BROOKE GLADSTONE:Yes, folks, the show is now available in a handy, dandy MP3 format, which you can download from our website at onthemedia.org. You can also email us at email@example.com, but really, it makes us look more credible if you tell us where you live and how to pronounce your name. [MUSIC]
BOB GARFIELD: Coming up, big media get bigger and prompt a big yawn. Also, gossip in the Big Apple.