Finally Fox News has done the right thing and fired Bill O’Reilly (front page, April 20). However the sad truth is that Fox did not come to this decision because it agreed mistreatment of women is wrong. If it believed that, he would have been gone long ago. Fox only reached this decision when it realized that its advertisers were bailing on O’Reilly’s show and that its bid for the British Sky Broadcasting Co. was in jeopardy. As a 57-year-old woman, I hope I live long enough to someday see the behavior be the reason in every organization and not wait for the money to tip the scale.
Michelle Hayden Soderberg, Plymouth
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I found the headline “Fox caves, forces out O’Reilly” offensive and insensitive. Suggesting that Fox caved in implies that it was a decision based on pressure and not on the inappropriate and unlawful behavior occurring in the Fox workplace. This story has focused from the beginning on how this situation impacts the Fox ratings and news lineup, with little attention to the impact of this kind of behavior on women in the workplace.
Kathy Capra, Minneapolis
Coverage choices show what Star Tribune’s decisionmakers favor
The front-page headline on Fox caving was not unexpected, as it is a major setback for the cable leader and is a sad commentary overall. As for the photo of O’Reilly shaking hands with the pope, the Star Tribune had to do a little digging to find that particular one. Its agenda of anti-conservative, anti- Catholic, anti-Trump continues issue after issue. Will it ever change back to only reporting?
Pierre LaFrance, Plymouth
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I am certain the editors were acutely aware of the irony of publishing a full-page ad for Ivanka Trump products on the back page of the April 20 Business section, free of charge, disguised as a news article purporting to examine the potential conflicts of interest her position in the White House creates by her ownership of the Ivanka Trump brand (“Ivanka’s brand flourishes in the White House glare,” April 20).
They splashed a photograph across the top of the page, three columns wide, of her and her husband sitting at a glamorous dinner with the president of China and his wife, along with pictures of her branded shoes and window displays of her branded merchandise, and they kindly list all the stores where her products can be purchased. (The so-called news article states that she was “gracious” and “charming” to her Chinese dinner mates.)
In the interest of full disclosure, perhaps the Star Tribune could tell us what a full-page ad like that would cost any other advertiser. Send the invoice to the White House.
James McGovern, Minneapolis
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I am wondering why the firing of another misogynistic Fox News employee was deemed front-page news and the story about Ivanka Trump’s business benefiting from her role in the White House was buried in the Business section? Or, maybe the Russian bombers flying close to Alaska on Tuesday could have made it onto the front page? In my opinion, what is going on in the White House right now is more important than what is happening in entertainment. That’s what Fox News is, entertainment. Fox doesn’t deserve a headline on the Variety section, let alone the front page. We have a crisis happening every day in our government, and the Star Tribune should prioritize that over entertainment. Perhaps these middle-aged white males behaving like it’s the 1950s wouldn’t feel so empowered if we didn’t hold them in such high regard.
Elizabeth Ramsey, Excelsior
If Calhoun is out, what about the other slaveholders?
The Minneapolis Park Board voted unanimously to recommend that Lake Calhoun’s name be changed to Bde Maka Ska because John C. Calhoun was a supporter of slavery (“Effort to rename Lake Calhoun advances,” April 20). Twelve presidents owned slaves, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Should each of their names be removed from Washington, D.C., Madison, Wis., and Jefferson City, Mo? If Lake Calhoun is changed, where will it end?
Norman Holen, Richfield
U journalism school should be free of sponsorship rights
I’m just an old retired reporter — a chaser of stories and seeker after the elusive truth — and that may explain why I am not among those celebrating the renaming of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota to the Hubbard SJMC (April 19).
I understand that colleges and universities regularly bend and bow to generous donors. It’s part of the soft underbelly of higher education. So, rename Murphy Hall to the Hubbard Building. But for heaven’s sake, keep the journalism school free of the encumbrances of corporate sponsorship.
The U school has produced myriad reporters. editors, news directors, photographers and designers with whom I have worked. They came out of the school ready to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. I relished their spirit, spunk and sensitivity.
Journalism schools are about pursuing facts and revealing fictions. Never have they been more important than today, when truth-telling is at such a premium. As generous as the Hubbards have been to the U, naming a school after the highest bidder does not send the right kind of message to the students enrolled in the program.
Are the Hubbards broadcast pioneers? Sure they are. They are also corporate citizens and political donors, and those roles are not intended for First Amendment protection.
Finally, universities have already diluted journalism education with their training for the new media. I have grudgingly accepted advertising, public relations, software design and family studies as part of the broadened curriculum.
What I can’t swallow are naming rights. Are we really ready for the Facebook School of Communication Arts or the YouTube College of Broadcast?
David Nimmer, Woodbury
Trump is right; this program is abused — by companies
It pains me, but I have to agree with Trump’s position on H-1B visas (“Trump targets visas for highly skilled workers,” front page, April 19, and “Highly skilled workers’ visas have fees to help Americans,” Opinion Exchange, April 20). These are visas awarded to foreign technology workers, mostly in fields like software development and engineering. I spent my career in high technology and working with H-1B workers. While these people tend to be competent and extremely hardworking, not unlike immigrant workers of all types, there is no question that the system is often abused by large corporations to reduce their labor costs and increase their profits.
While federal law requires that companies demonstrate the shortage of domestic workers and that foreign workers be paid a competitive rate, these provisions are easily met.
The way this is typically done is that a company hires an immigration lawyer who specializes in meeting the letter of the law, or contracts with a foreign recruiter who specializes in high-tech workers. The foreign supplier then directly or indirectly pressures their employees to underreport their hours, effectively reducing their average hourly wage. As a foreign worker once told me, “If I do not play along, there are 10,000 other workers where I come from standing in line that will.” Not only do these practices directly reduce the labor costs of foreign workers, but they create downward pressure on domestic labor rates as well.
Steven M. Pine, Hopkins