Why it’s dangerous to push Ukraine out of the headlines | Letters
Here’s what readers are saying in Monday’s letters to the editor.
Rescuers work at the scene of a building that was damaged by a deadly Russian missile attack in Vinnytsia, Ukraine, on July 14.
Rescuers work at the scene of a building that was damaged by a deadly Russian missile attack in Vinnytsia, Ukraine, on July 14. [ EFREM LUKATSKY | AP ]
Published Jul. 18

Don’t forget Ukraine

Russian strikes in Vinnytsia kill at least 21, with gruesome civilian toll | July 15

I am worried by the reduced news coverage of the war in Ukraine. Why? Russia experts initially thought Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine was a calculated gamble. Putin’s wager was partially predicated on the assumption that Americans would tire of nuanced news stories every day about Ukraine.

Was his gamble wise or foolish? For many years mass media scholars have documented what is called the “agenda setting” function of the media — a theory developed by professors Max McCombs and Donald Shaw.

Their research and that of other communication scholars demonstrated how the quantity and perspective of media stories have the capacity to affect what the public thinks is important. To be clear, this is a far different claim than assertions that the media influences people’s stands on particular issues.

Put simply, “what” stories news outlets choose to cover and “how” they choose to cover them may set the public’s agenda. As a result, we now must wonder if the media’s current coverage of Ukraine actually is helping to make Putin’s gamble less of a gamble — and more of a sure bet. Maybe Putin’s assumption was right.

Richard Cherwitz, Austin, Texas

Florida vs. science

Trans report called flawed | July 15

It should come as no surprise that Florida wants to ban the use of Medicaid monies for transgender people. After all, Florida passed the “don’t say gay bill.” We live in a state that doesn’t seem to believe in data, research or scientific studies but rather follows conspiracy theories and pseudo-science with political motivation. Sadly, the consequence will deny the rights and freedoms to Floridians because of who they are. This is what playing politics with science looks like.

Jackie Kanner, St. Petersburg

The dustbin of history

Here’s what to read from the left and the right | Column, July 17

Up until recently, I’ve prided myself on being someone who tries to understand differing viewpoints. I was raised in the ‘70s and ‘80s and have a casual male acquaintance who is nearing 90 years of age, and we have always enjoyed weekly spirited discussions on everything from politics to the economy. This acquaintance told me that if a woman “doesn’t want to get pregnant, then she shouldn’t have sex.” He was quite clear that the onus of any pregnancy falls strictly on the woman, no exceptions. I’d like to chalk this up to generational differences, but what he said was appalling. Let’s hope that with the passage of time, and natural attrition, these views will soon be history.

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Jules Stewart, Dunedin


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