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As a recent college
graduate, perhaps I am biased by a need to justify my parents’ having just shelled out $100,000 for my education and to defend my own lack of real experience, but I am dismayed at Randall Bloomquist’s denigration of Diane Rehm’s preference for “the academic over the experiential” in the organization of her program as a betrayal of public radio’s mission (“Too Much of the Goodness Thing,” 8/2).
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While admittedly only a newly regular listener to public radio, I have always understood the goal of that medium to be the equivalent of the televised public broadcasts from which I first learned to recite the alphabet, count in English and Spanish, appreciate new types of music, and develop an interest in history and a better understanding of the physical, political, social, and economic world in which we live. I would qualify all of these things as part of the academic education that has encouraged me to acquire experience, which Bloomquist believes to be
the only alternative to mainstream commercialism.
Rehm, like most of the other contributors to public radio whom I’ve heard, is not and does not pretend to be a radical-liberal alternative to radical-conservative commentators like Limbaugh, Liddy, and North. Rather, she provides the moderate balance that is too often ignored these days for the more exciting, but also more divisive and less constructive, battle between the extremes of the left and right that has recently proliferated. This dangerous trend has made the construction of educated decisions all the more difficult. I am surprised to find that Washington City Paper, bastion of free expression, critiques Rehm for encouraging the “fair and factual presentations of the complex issues inherent in any democracy” from which intelligent dialogue is spurred.