In the Mailbag

How To Spell "Koran"?

A weekly commentary by CBS News Correspondent Andy Rooney:

After Dan Rather and Tom Brokaw got letters containing anthrax spores, CBS started opening all our mail before delivering it.

These came in before that. Some came to my home.

A lot of doctors wrote. I've got six letters here. That must be what doctors are doing, writing letters while we're in the waiting room waiting.

Dr. William Colliton says, "Your piece was pure, unabashed Catholic bashing. Could it be that the liberal media has an agenda protective of homosexuals?"

I guess I won't be getting a Christmas card from Dr. Colliton this year.

Amadou Wane, of Tampa, wrote: "There is only one version of the Quran in Arabic. There are just different translations."

A lot of Muslims wrote that I was wrong saying there were different versions of the Quran.

Riaz Hussein wrote: "In regard to your views of the Quran, at least spell it correctly."

So how is it spelled Riaz? I want to do the right thing. In the letters I got it's spelled three ways: "Koran," "Quran," and "Qur'an."

In a newspaper column I wrote about anti-Semitism, I said that Ogden Nash wrote this poem which I thought was funny, not anti-Semitic: "How Odd..Of God..To Choose..The Jews."

Barbara Holender of Snyder, N.Y., does think it's anti-Semitic and said it was written by William Norman Ewer, not Ogden Nash. She's right about the author, and I apologize.

Here's a letter I'll never read. It's eight solid pages on both sides of lined paper.

This is from John Wiebusch, a vice-president with the National Football League. "Dear Andy, We are publishing a new book called 'The NFL Super Bowl Companion.' Your contributions to the Super Bowl programs are scheduled to be in the book. Payment is $300. Please sign the enclosed documents."

Well, I'm writing him back: "Dear John, How come you're paying me only $300? When we use a snippet of NFL pictures on 60 Minutes, we have to pay you a minimum of $4,500".

A good letter from Brian Rose in East Amherst, N.Y.: "Too often it appears that journalists believe that they must adopt an adversarial stance when covering governmental affairs."

Well, he's right and wrong. He's right that journalists are adversarial covering government but wrong thinking it's wrong. Nothing unpatriotic about being critical of government. If journalists had been more adversarial in relation to business, the Enron mess might never have happened.

The people who really want to hurt you, write to your boss. Russell Frank of Irvine, Calif., wrote to Don Hewitt, the producer of 60 Minutes.

He ends by saying: "It's time to send Andy home. Better send someone with him to make sure he gets there."