To feign surprise that sooner or later some tragedy would come from these "humiliation on parade" talk shows is insulting to all and beneficial to none. I have no doubt that nothing will change, and that the only lessons these hosts will learn is how to look more "sincerely concerned" while they continue to put whoopee cushions under the lives of innocent people.
ROCKI BOYLE, Mill Valley, Calif.
I am glad that Miss Jones is "devastated." If it were not for her inability to produce a talk show that is both interesting and nonsleazy, then this tragedy would have been prevented. She and her producers should be arrested as accomplices to the murder of Scott Amedure.
GARY E. SANDERS, San Diego
These shows are sickening. They bring every possible combination of volatile adversaries together. Then, when the shouting starts and tempers flare and someone attacks somebody, they are suddenly horrified at the violence that erupts. Jonathan Schmitz is indeed responsible for his own actions—just as Jenny Jones is responsible for hers.
NORMAN GREEN, New York City
It is not the least bit surprising to me that someone was murdered as a result of appearing on a talk show. Unfortunately, my son appeared on several talk shows two years ago and he is now serving a 10-year prison sentence. He, along with other ignorant, arrogant and immature teens, boasted about his sexual conquests as a member of the once-infamous Spur Posse—the sex-for-points gang. Foolishly, against my suggestion that he keep a low profile, he was baited by every talk show possible. Limousines, fancy hotels, free food and cash turned my son's brain to mush. The boys did not disappoint the producers of Jenny Jones. Anyone watching would have hated these boys and would think they were capable of doing almost anything. By the time my son went to trial for crimes that should have put him in a county jail for one year, he ended up getting the maximum sentence possible. His demeanor "onstage" contaminated the minds of the D.A., the jury and the judge. DOTTIE BELMAN, Lakewood, Calif.
Although you noted that The Oprah Winfrey Show has opted to air "less lurid" shows on topics like anorexia, my experience with Oprah and most other talk shows is that eating-disorder victims are especially vulnerable to being exploited. Recently I've been leaned on by several major shows to find people with eating disorders, and when I state that my policy is to provide people who have hopeful tales of recovery, I'm always rebuffed by producers who apologetically say that "younger and sicker" makes better TV Unfortunately, there are always treatment centers and therapists who are willing to bring these vulnerable victims on the air in the hope of garnering free publicity.
CAROLINE ADAMS MILLER President, Foundation for Education About Eating Disorders, Bethesda, Md.
THE O.J. TRIAL
In the nine months since my brother's murder, I have received a great amount of support from the public as well as the media. Not only was I disappointed upon reading Lucinda Franks's interpretation of the trial, I was also embarrassed at her lack of respect and regard for myself and my family. She betrayed our trust, and I am appalled. Furthermore, my brother was a beautiful, vibrant man. I should not, nor should anyone, ever have to hear their loved one described in such an insensitive way as a "pile of bloody laundry." I love my brother too much to allow him to be spoken of in such a horrible and demeaning way. He deserves more than that.
KIM GOLDMAN, Los Angeles
Lucinda Franks replies: Kim Goldman talked to me with distress about the unreal way the media had trivialized her brother's death. I promised that my article would try to bring some reality to her family's loss. In reporting on her tearful reaction to evidence depicting her brother in terms of his body parts and as a crumpled cadaver, I was trying to show how excruciating the courtroom ordeal was for the Goldman family. A reporter's job is to report the facts, but if I offended Ms. Goldman by descriptions that were too vivid, I regret it.