The Mission of International Broadcasting
In the Opinion page article "A Plan for Improving US Broadcast Efforts," April 28, the author's plan would preserve a most unsatisfactory status quo. The theory of United States international broadcasting is that one station, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, presents news about the listeners' own countries, while another voice, Voice of America, presents US and world news and US government viewpoints. People listen to international radio to get news that is more comprehensive, timely, and reliable than t he news they get from their own media. This programming must be clearly audible and conveniently scheduled.
Britain spends half as much as the United States on international broadcasting, but the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) World Service has more listeners than all the US radios combined. US international broadcasting falls short but costs more because its human and technical resources, scarce no matter how much tax money is poured in, are divided among competing bureaucracies.
The US government must quickly deal with the difficult business of international broadcasting in an increasingly competitive global media environment. Bickering bureaucracies must give way to a single new global broadcasting corporation able to adjust programming and media mix to suit any audience at any time. And because the audience has defined the mission of international broadcasting as that of providing credible news and information, this corporation should enjoy the autonomy it needs to do the job. Kim Andrew Elliott, Arlington, Va. The US Holocaust Memorial Museum
The author's otherwise admirable description of the recently opened United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, in the article "Holocaust Memorials Send a Harsh Message: Never Forget," April 26, unwittingly reiterates a historical distortion of the German Jewish response to Nazi oppression and violence in the years 1933-1938. During this period, the author writes, "Some 40,000 Jews found sanctuary in the US, only a fraction of those who tried to come."
Sadly, most of the 525,000 German Jews elected to remain in the Third Reich after 1933, regarding emigration as too radical a step. They did so for a variety of reasons - centuries-old ties to Germany, uncertainty about Nazi Jewish policy, previous experience of anti-Semitism, old age, and inertia. True, countries such as the US kept barriers to immigration in place during the Depression years, and anti-Semitic bias was widespread in the State Department.
But equally true, the great majority of German Jews made no serious effort to leave Germany until after the Kristallnacht pogrom of Nov. 9-10, 1938. By then, fearful of a mass exodus, most nations had tightened their visa requirements, and the Jews had virtually nowhere to go. John V. H. Dippel, Piermont, N.Y. The influence of TV
The editorial "Taming `Models' of Violence," April 14, highlights a problem that is foremost in the minds of many of us in this country as well as in the United States. We know that advertisers spend vast sums of money to buy screen time in peak viewing hours because people are influenced by what they see on television.
In a street in this town, four children were seen beating a black youth lying on the ground the day after we had seen the news item of the police beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles.
While no free country would wish to apply censorship to the news, it is within the power of governments to control the channels to which franchises for entertainment are granted. At present it seems that broadcasting is considered an economic activity that must benefit the taxpayer rather than a cultural activity benefiting the viewers. Vera Underwood, Ipswich, England Poetry in motion
The Home Forum page poem "Amsterdam," April 13, is proof that a good poem can often capture a subject better than any newspaper article or essay. In a few lines, the poet mirrors the mood and the atmosphere of the great city perfectly. I can actually see the barges moving in the canals and hear the pensive sound of illusive gulls. What a special, unique form of literary expression a finely crafted poem can be. William Beyer, Belvidere, Ill.