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Letters: 'Slut Shaming' And Chuck Hagel's Contentious Nomination

Audie Cornish and Melissa Block read emails from listeners about "slut shaming" and Elliott Abrams on former Sen. Chuck Hagel's nomination for Secretary of Defense.

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Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

It's time now for your letters. First, we want to expand on and clarify a story that aired on New Year's Day. It was about Israel's decision to ease restrictions on the shipment of construction materials to Gaza. Our story failed to note that Israel previously allowed aid organizations to ship construction material into Gaza. The eased rules apply to private sector builders.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Now to some kudos for one of our radio rookies. Yesterday, we heard about a disturbing new trend called slut-shaming. It involves humiliating girls by posting explicit photos or videos of them online. We learned about it from 16-year-old Temitayo Fagbenle. And her reporting prompted Laura Kelly of Fayetteville, Arkansas to write this: I can hardly believe how mature and in-depth her story seemed to me. She captured some amazing first-hand comments by people who perhaps would have been reluctant to speak to most reporters. I hope she knows how well her story sounded to a middle-aged woman who had never even heard of the topic.

BLOCK: Finally now, many of you took issue with my interview yesterday with Elliot Abrams. He is a neoconservative on foreign policy who served in the Reagan and George W. Bush administrations. In our interview, Abrams was highly critical of former Senator Chuck Hagel, President Obama's nominee to be the next secretary of defense.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED INTERVIEW)

ELLIOTT ABRAMS: I think he has a chance at his confirmation hearing to show that he is not what he appears to be, which is frankly an anti-Semite. It's not just being anti-Israel. He's got a problem with what he calls the Jews, the Jewish lobby. I think if he cannot satisfy people that he is not, in fact, bigoted against Jews, he certainly should not be confirmed.

CORNISH: John Shrauger of Venice, Florida writes: Mr. Abrams did not convince me that Chuck Hagel is anti-Semitic, but he did convince me that anyone who is not unequivocally supportive of Israel's policies still risks being labeled as anti-Semitic. What seems to be clear about Mr. Hagel is that he has the courage to stand up to some of the most powerful lobbies in Washington: the defense contracting lobby as well as the right-wing pro-Israel lobby.

BLOCK: And many of you thought we should have told you more about Elliot Abrams' background. Derek Goldman of Missoula, Montana was among those who wrote to say we should have told listeners that Abrams pleaded guilty to withholding information from Congress in the Iran-Contra investigation. He writes: This information should have been highly important to the story, given the excessive strength of Mr. Abrams' criticism of Senator Hagel.

CORNISH: Thanks to all who wrote in, and please, keep your letters coming. You can write to us at npr.org. Just click on Contact Us. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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