Friday, May 23, 2008

Rarely Do I Agree With the Rev. Jeremiah Wright - Hence, An Open Letter to the New York Times

I sent a copy of this to their Public Editor, Mr. Clark Hoyt, a man I would not usually write to, as he's best known for publicly attacking one of his own columnists for the sin of being a right winger. But, as he is their public editor, he should be sent a copy.

The article in question was written by an obnoxious reporter, Jodi Kantor, who stepped aside as the Times' Arts Editor after coming into controversy. More recently, she was pilloried by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright for misrepresenting his comments about Barack Obama in an interview he gave to her. The times that I find myself in agreement with Rev. Wright are rare, so I'd like to celebrate this meeting of the minds with a little letter to Clark Hoyt, a man who's done more to retire journalistic integrity in the past year than most propagandists accomplish in a lifetime.

Dear Public Editor,

There are times to be diplomatic and there are times to speak the entire truth regardless of how it sounds. A "news article" in today's edition of your paper warrants a response along the lines of the latter.

The New York Times is well known for quoting people out of context as well as for taking great lengths to find the most foolish and inarticulate people available to represent the view you disagree with. Had Stephen Douglas had such foresight in the 1850s he would have uninvited Lincoln to the debates and merely sparred against a 2 year old child, an elderly woman of diminishing faculties or a mentally challenged man who purported to be in line with Lincoln's position. Of course, unlike the New York Times, Douglas had too much class for that.

Jodi Kantor's article "Many Florida Jews Express Doubts on Obama," pieced together a shameful collection of false quotes by inattentive people. Her purpose was to portray all who are hesitant about Barack Obama's candidacy of appeasement as naïve, foolish or half senile.

Most senior citizens embody a lifetime of knowledge, wisdom and experience. Others merely possess decades of foolishness and emotion-based vitriol. Another group suffers from diminished judgment and analytical abilities due in part to the onset of physical ailments or weaknesses. It's a shame that Kantor couldn't have been bothered to quote a reasonable person, of which there are plenty in Century Village, they're just not among the obtuse ones who run up to reporters offering them their "views" the moment they see them. She would have actually had to approach some able minded subjects for interview.

In stark contrast to Kantor's portrayal, many intelligent people have problems with Obama's philosophy of appeasement, a worldview that has been proven wrong time and time again throughout history. In fairly recent times alone, Carter's appeasement approach in the 70s helped facilitate the rise of extremism in Iran. Many have problems giving the presidency to someone who has no coherent foreign policy vision, but who seems keen on direct negotiations with, and appeasement of, those who threaten terror. Contrary to Kantor's distasteful portrayal of this group, such people don't think that Barack Obama's a Muslim, the son of Farrakhan or the bride of Frankenstein. They think he's naïve and a disciple of Jimmy Carter, which, on foreign policy, he is.

President Bush was right to compare Carter's continued promotion of that approach to Sen. Borah's ridiculous statements about negotiations during the late 30s. Reagan fought the same battle with appeasers in both parties over proper policy against the Soviet Union, an evil empire intent on expansion. Most who are against Obama believe that he would pursue a similar course to Borah's and to Carter's, as indicated by his own statements.

Most shameful was Kantor's quote of a lone paranoid woman in her 80s that the reason people fear an Obama presidency is because of race. Although no other senior citizens in the entire Village expressed that sentiment, Kantor chose to place her comments high up in the article. The truth, however, is that many of those who now fear an Obama presidency had originally cheered the likely nomination of the first African-American contender for the presidency.

Had Democrats had the foresight to nominate Harold Ford, Jr., hijack Colin Powell from our ranks, or put forward any other competent African-American candidate, all would have met the event with much fanfare. Republicans wouldn't have supported the nominee over legitimate ideological reasons, but they would have heralded the breakthrough of a minority nominee. Instead, Democrats chose a candidate who counts numerous extremists among his ideological twins. Doing so has fanned the flames of racial tension after 8 years of unprecedented national unity where one needed only to point to any of two to four high profile African American cabinet secretaries to dispel the ridiculous notions held by any racists. And the media helps fan these flames along by saying this is all about race.

Most of the Jews which Kantor seeks to portray as racist were strong supporters of the civil rights movement. Few would hesitate for one moment to cast their ballot for a Colin Powell. Unfortunately they're primarily Democrats, so they would also vote for Harold Ford Jr. with equal enthusiasm. But they're not going to vote for a candidate who champions the call for direct talks with the madman Mahmoud, not because the candidate is Black, but because with that philosophy, he may as well be Pink.

American Blacks and Jews have worked together to bring harmony and societal good to all. In doing so, they've partnered with White Republicans and conservative Democrats (at the time), including one Charlton Heston. Blacks and Jews have experienced more prejudice than any other groups and have worked together successfully to change that. But that doesn't stop abject fools with press credentials from threatening some of that progress. Their narrow minded agenda trumps all.

Who cares if Kantor fans the flames of racism? Who cares if she portrays all Jews negatively? Who cares if she degrades all senior citizens by highlighting the worst among them, just as she does with Jews and Blacks, a tactic that is often used to stereotype any group? Kantor's main goal is to show us that all who question Obama are fools and backward morons. If in so doing she fosters hate, then so be it. Victory for the extreme left is all that Kantor and the New York Times have ever cared about.

Kantor's not a racist, an anti-Semite or anti seniors. I believe her to be Jewish herself (so much for Jewish intelligence). I doubt that she has anything against senior citizens, except for conservative ones. But with her "save Obama at any cost" tactics, she may as well be all three.

None other than Rev. Jeremiah Wright accused Ms. Kantor of a severe lack of professionalism and journalistic integrity. While I rarely find myself in agreement with him, some things are so obvious that they have the power to unite all in agreement. The disgraceful conduct of the New York Times is one such apparent reality, and this would have been true even if Kantor's piece had been an op-ed. All the more so when these tactics are used in a supposed "news article." Another such apparent truth is that just as Kantor had no place being an Arts Editor, she has no place working for a legitimate newspaper, at least until she changes her methods. Until then, her articles should be relegated to propaganda papers like the Pravda of old, or like today's New York Times.

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