< Letters


Friday, March 04, 2011

BOB GARFIELD: And now for a few of your letters. William Cunniff was one of many listeners to respond to our interview with our own producer Sarah Abdurrahman, who had spent the weekend as a kind of journalist/activist, connecting Libyan protesters on the ground with the Libyan diaspora in the mainstream media. He, like many, observed that, quote, “At the end of the interview, she started to break down, and as a 56-year-old white guy in Middle America, I almost started to cry myself. I could feel her passion for what she’s doing. I just wish I could tell her the impact that interview had.” On our interview last week about how JCPenney gamed Google to achieve better search results, Ted Bunn of Richmond, Virginia writes, quote: “I'm baffled by your use of the words ‘sinister’ and especially ‘illicit,’ to characterize JCPenney’s search optimization strategy. Nothing in your report suggests that anything the company did was illegal. You can bet that all of JCPenney’s competitors do their best at search engine optimization. They'd be negligent in their obligation to their shareholders if they didn't. As far as I can tell from your report, JCPenney’s only crime was to be better at it. If Google wants to remain preeminent in the search business, its obligation is to plug holes in its algorithm. No one else is obligated to refrain from walking through any holes they find.”

BROOKE GLADSTONE: About our live show a couple of weeks ago, you either loved it or hated it. Jack Katz of Mesa, Arizona, called it, quote: “A fantastic show, full of important content and still presented in a light and palatable way, respecting the intellect of your audience.” But Pat Galloway of Austin, Texas, hated it, quote, “Ordinarily I find OTM informative and interesting. For this show, I found it to be disappointingly ill informed. Please get some researchers who can understand the Semantic Web and the human labor it takes to make meaning meaningful to a computer. Please grant the topic more seriousness than a roundup of competing sound bites. The most disturbing thing about this show was that I now wonder whether to trust it on other topics.”

BOB GARFIELD: Wow. Okay. Don't sugarcoat it. Just keep those comments coming to Onthemedia@wnyc.org, and don't forget to tell you where you live and how to pronounce your name.