"In Korea's LG: Will it be the next Samsung?" (The Corporation, Jan. 24), LG's CEO Mr. Kim Ssang Su says: "I want LG to be a tough place to work." I think this old-fashioned style of running a company is a good reason not to buy an LG LCD monitor (or any other LG product).
I purchased an LG HDTV in June, 2003, only to have it fail within 16 months. After three months of vague promises from LG customer service, I still have no functioning TV. Perhaps Mr. Kim can use some of his $1.73 billion R&D budget to develop a better TV -- or at least have some meaningful parts inventory. Otherwise, LG will never advance beyond its days as Lucky-Goldstar, maker of cheap microwaves and disposable consumer electronics.
Orland Park, Ill.
Your review of No Place To Hide ("They're watching you," Books, Jan. 24) touched on important issues related to the establishment of a "surveillance society." As a former licensed private investigator, I used many of the private databases cited in your article: ChoicePoint (CPS), Equifax (EFX), LexisNexis, and others. The problem I encountered too often was the inaccuracy or incompleteness of the information available from these sources. This could lead to false conclusions about the people or companies we were researching. As you note, private databases have the potential for enormous improvements in homeland security, but oversight and accountability must be required.
Fountain Hills, Ariz.
In "Can Murdoch outfox CNBC?" (News: The United States, Jan. 10-17), Tom Lowry left out an important financial point: Will Murdoch pay for Fox business channel to be carried on cable systems? Often ignored in discussions of Fox News' success are the "co-marketing fees" that News paid to nearly every major cable multiple system operator (MSO) as soon as those operators put Fox News on the expanded basic lineup (launch on the digital tier is worth far less and gets far fewer viewers). At $5 per subscriber -- the price nearly a decade ago -- the launch fees to get a new channel in front of 70 million cable households would total $350 million. This investment has worked out for Fox News, but it is a risk for potential News Corp. investors when contemplated for a smaller niche channel.
Re "An American chief for Israel's central bank" (Global Wrapup, Jan. 24), about the appointment of Stanley Fischer to the post of the governorship of the Bank of Israel: When in world history has a government turned over its central bank functions to someone who is not a citizen or native of that country? Your report opines that Fischer was selected because he believes in competition in the banking industry and a reduction in Israel's government sector, because he will help secure funds to pay the $1.2 billion cost of relocating Jewish residents of Gaza, and because he advocates more economic development for the Palestinian territories.
There were at least 10 qualified, world-renowned economists who live and work in Israel who are far more suited to implement these policies.
I am 82 years old and have been a New York Times reader for most of them ("The future of The New York Times," Media, Jan. 24). On its worst day, the Times has been the best newspaper in the world. Neither Jayson Blair nor Howell Raines nor anything else has been more than a momentary scratch on the long-established, long-earned, and long-deserved stature of the Times as an extraordinary institution of extraordinary importance to our country and the world. BusinessWeek (MHP) dares to suggest that the wonderful tradition of the Ochs-Sulzberger family -- past, present, and future -- in recognizing the far greater importance of the Times as a newspaper is less important than the current multiple of its stock.
I fully recognize the need for the Times to continue to be a profitable business and to expand its role in the world of communications. But I am certain of, and I am proud of, the Ochs-Sulzberger tradition that I know will ignore the world of pressure for higher multiples -- and will do everything to sustain the reality that The New York Times is not just another corporation but a one-of-a-kind institution of far greater importance.
Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
As a centrist, I have watched with dismay how the Times switched from center-left toward the left. The editorials have lost their equilibrium, the featured columnists have turned tiresome and marginalized, except for Thomas L. Friedman and David Brooks. Even though I did not vote for George W. Bush, I resent the unbalanced reporting during the election. A publisher's personal biases have no place in a newsroom.
I started picking up The New York Times when I traveled in my job. I looked upon it as a "national newspaper." When my traveling slowed, I had a subscription delivered to my home. As I often remarked, I got the Times for the news and Baltimore's The Sun to see what was on sale and what was playing at the movies. I knew that the Times was blatantly liberal but accepted that as long as it was primarily confined to the editorial pages. About three years ago I noticed a shift. I canceled my subscription this summer when I could no longer accept the paper's obvious liberal stance in all its sections.
Arthur Sulzberger Jr. should confine his liberal stance to the editorial page -- which as a reader I can choose to read or not read. Otherwise, The New York Times will become a second-rate, politically oriented paper, not unlike the Baltimore Sun, another paper with a grand tradition that is a mere shadow of its former self.
Arthur Sulzberger Jr.'s dilemma about whether online readers of The New York Times should pay a fee shows that the Gray Lady has yet to catch up with reality. What Sulzberger does not appreciate is how many online readers are also subscribers to the newspaper itself. I prefer to read the Times online rather than scamper about my lawn trying to find where the paper has been left. I leave it for the family to read. And, as anyone who reads the Times knows, an advantage of the online edition is that it does not come off on the reader's hands.
Donald E. Simon
Are you telling me that in these days in which information is king that neither the Audit Bureau of Circulations nor The New York Times knows how many of the papers sold in 2003 were distributed within and outside of the New York area? I work for an airline, and I can tell you with absolute certainty that we know where our 2003 customers boarded our airplanes and where we took them.
Michael J. Smola
Here's an idea to help The New York Times boost print circulation: comics. Print a really good assortment like The Washington Post, instead of the puny page-and-a-half found in The Boston Globe.