THE OUT OF TIMES
Re: William Murchison’s Authors of Their Own Doom:
Murchison is dead on. As a Chicago Tribune reporter from ’68 to ’73, I was possibly the last relatively conservative, state-school-educated army vet hired at the paper. The transition from ordinary joe reporter to elitist know-it-all was drastic and quick. Years later, when the Chicago Tribune Magazine was printing glowing articles about Bill Ayers, I wrote a note to the then Tribune ombudsman suggesting it was just possible that the Trib had lost touch with its target audience. Needless to say, I received no response.
— Steve Crews
Amen brother. However, there is another interesting point. The Watergate duo achieved their reputation by cooperating in a first class felony. For the assistant head of the FBI to leak raw FBI Files to reporters a penitentiary offense. So the great reputation of the duo was based upon a serious crime. Note: Chuck Colson went to jail for reading a FBI file without authorization.
— Willliam M. Selenke
I can testify to the truth of what Mr. Murchison says. I’ve worked at newspapers in five Texas towns and one in Tennessee. Three of the Texas papers maintained an aggressively liberal editorial policy, culling conservatives from their newsrooms and regularly hectoring and insulting their largely conservative readership. All three had problems maintaining circulation, problems that were evident as far back as the ’80s, long before the Internet arose to play undertaker. In contrast, the one conservative paper I worked for, the Chattanooga Free Press, had bested its liberal rival, the Chattanooga Times, in circulation and revenue (even though the Free Press was an afternoon paper and therefore should have been losing readers to the Times, a morning paper).
Examples? The Bryan-College Station Eagle — in Aggieland, a rural and tech-college community where Texas A&M’s Corps of Cadets is the largest military class in the nation outside the U.S. service academies — decided to favor its readers with an illustrated Sunday cover story about a nearby nudist colony. That stunt cost the small-town paper more than sixty subscribers in a single day.
In Waco — home of the Southern Baptists’ Baylor University — the Tribune-Herald’s editor and two op-ed columnists were a three-man tag team in criticizing all things conservative, with a special disdain for the Religious Right. Conservative counterpoint from the lone newsroom dissenter (me) was squelched, lest the paper compromise its (self-imagined) reputation for objectivity and impartiality. Circulation? Shrinking.
In San Antonio — where readers are mostly either Catholic or conservative evangelicals in growing affinity with Catholics — the Express-News announced the election of Benedict XVI to the papacy with a banner headline calling him a “rigid theologian.” Alone in the newsroom, I deplored the choice of words, arguing that “rigid” was a term of reproach in this context, that “strict” would be a more neutral alternative, that it would be better to go with “God’s Rottweiler” (as some were calling him) than with “rigid theologian.” But no one else on duty saw it that way, and so the headline ran. The next day, so many angry phone calls and emails were received that the top editor had to apologize for the headline in his next Sunday column.
When I left the Express-News, my boss (one of the dwindling number of old-school journalists Mr. Murchison remembers so well) praised me at my going-away party as “an advocate for the reader.” That man has since taken early retirement, sad to say, and the Express-News’ circulation, ad revenue, page count and newsroom staff are all shrinking, shrinking, shrinking.
— Karl Spence
San Antonio, Texas
Note that Murchison is with the Dallas Morning News. They are at least as bad as any in flacking left-wing political ideology. Since 2003, they have had at least one “news” article each day about the War on Terror. My policy has been to read far enough into each article to conclude that it is political advocacy rather than news and then stop reading. Usually the first sentence is enough to do this — sometimes I can get through the entire first paragraph. As a result, all the information that I get on the GWOT is from sources other than our daily newspaper. Here’s what every DMN article reports:
-Bush is stupid
-Bush is evil
-Bush has a low approval rating
-Our soldiers are murderers and torturers
-Muslims just want to live in peace
-We have no national interests in Iraq
-Israel is evil and they are to blame for all conflict
-Our soldiers are being killed in great numbers — nothing else of significance that is worth reporting
-Getting all the US military out of Iraq is the most important national objective for America
— Richard Reed
Major factors contributing to the demise of the newspaper:
1. Newspapers backed Democrat teachers unions, which deprived newspapers of a subscriber base.
2. Journalists, and by extension newspapers, became publicity arms of the Democratic Party, alienating half of potential subscribers.
3. Al Gore, a Democrat, invented the Internet, which disintermediated the newspaper.
Readers educated by Republican teachers will spot the common factor.
— David Govett
Murchinson wrote a good and insightful, non-aggressive article. I am 74 years old and I too remember! I remember how uncivilized we were! How we insisted that our children showed respect for parents and elders, got their mouths washed out with soap for using foul vulgar language and actions that we now see on television and in the movies, called a military person names and you got your backside kicked by whoever was the closest to him. You didn’t take charity because you had pride in who you were and your family. You worked hard and did whatever work was available, picking cotton or chopping wood. You shot a squirrel or run a trot line if necessary and supper was sometimes cornbread and a glass of milk. We felt sorry for kids raised in the cities because they didn’t have the freedom or knowledge to take care of themselves that we did. We respected our neighbors, helped those who needed help, just as they would us. You didn’t help the drunk by giving him monies or something he could sell to buy more alcohol: that was contributing to his problem, not helping him.
We expected politicians and parties to be decent people, not corrupt thugs! We are and will remain a Christian nation. Went to church for the first time yesterday since moving to San Jose, church was full with all ages and ethnic backgrounds represented! The new party which took over the Democrat Party in the 60’s and 70’s think they are all powerful, but our Lord and God Jesus Christ can demolish them or any of us in the blink of an eye. Don’t believe all that crap, then tell me who and how was this planet hung on it’s axle in space? Can’t explain that, try reading your Bible!
— Ruth Skidmore
It seems that news reporting will only gain the public trust back when it fails to pay off the cost of student loans of Columbia’s and Yale’s journalism schools’ graduates.
Daily news and/or journalism doesn’t need to be intellectual, blockbuster in content, or provide daily epiphanies. It just has to inform, without being heavy. Most reported “news” is bad anyway. Consisting largely of lawbreakers, tax cheats (of certain political parties) and these days; foul weather posing as Global Warming.
To my wife’s chagrin, I watch local TV news because it’s still largely devoid of political content. There are a few exceptions here in Detroit and Michigan where Democrats are largely responsible for all things disastrous here. The local news readers simply deliver the stories of street drag-racing gone awry, FOX-2’s Problem Solvers busting a con-man contractor, or the 2-alarm fire that guts an east-side business or home. Sadness, yes, but mostly avoidable situations that teach life lessons. The TV News Anchors are mostly schmaltzy and (probably) all hoping to be recognized by the national affiliates. But really they have no chance. But there’s little if any finger-pointing, heavy trips, or editorializing.
The Joint Operating Agreement (JOA) here in Detroit between the News & Free Press has almost killed the News (formerly conservative in its commentary) while the Free Press has survived mostly through circulation paid by-liberal guilt (gotta keep it goin’) subscriptions. But, even that has failed to stop both papers from converting to a near paperless publishing format.
You can blame the ‘net for much of this. It’s how I read The Spectator. Which I loyally subscribed to for years prior to the convenience of internet publishing (and several address changes). I was myself, an extremely well paid scanner operator, doing multiple color-separations for the daily news publications here in town. Desk-top publishing knocked me out in ’97. I was not bitter, I just left the industry.
— P. Aaron Jones
WITH US OR AGAINST US
Re: Hal G.P. Colebatch’s The Trial of Tony Blair:
I am sufficiently xenophobic to appreciate Mr. Blair for his principled stance with America in the war against terror. I care neither a feather nor a fig either for or about his domestic policies. The nation he ruled is a sovereign country and they are permitted to do as they wish with their social and economic life.
I care whether a nation aligns itself with us. I care that a nation doesn’t betray us. I, for instance, would show the retarded chimpanzee running Venezuela how to build a nation if he’d stop his anti- American rhetoric. Fidel’s people wouldn’t be starving now in perfect socialismo if he hadn’t made us the bad guy. We’d be feeding Cuba just like we feed Africa.
But you see, the left, here (Listen to Jimmy Carter, Al Gore, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and their minions from Hollywood) and overseas HATE America. Why? The answer is very simple and wonderfully profound. The United States has, for it’s entire existence, permitted it’s citizens to run about like chickens with their heads cut off, doing what they will, when they will, in the manner they will, and that alone created the most marvelous social and economic engine the world has known.
Ungainly? Certainly. Lacking the social niceties of European civilization? Perhaps. But successful? Beyond any argument. So why do they hate us? Very simple. Our success undermines the very foundation of socialism. That is that elites must rule or the unwashed will starve and descend into chaos. So we must be seen to be a failure when in fact The United States is a Darwinian success: those who try succeed. Socialists cannot abide the individual who does it on his own. We are a nation of them.
— Jay W. Molyneaux
NAZIS WERE BAD, DOESN’T MEAN OTHERS WERE GOOD
Re: James Bowman’s Valkyrie:
Isn’y it funny how happy Hollywood is to make World War II movies? I know that it was pretty big, but, damn, it happened over 60 years ago and lasted “only” six years. Hardly enough time now to start an Environment Impact Assessment of the World Trade Center memorial. It’s almost as if Hollywood desperately needs to make good-war movies and the Nazies (soft “a”) are simply the only universal Bad Guy they can get behind. We fought the Cold War for 45 years and it keeps getting the short end. How about movies about the RB-47 crews that were shot down over Kamchatka or Kola? How about the U-2 missions that didn’t end up eating the dirt outside Sverdlovsk? Is there NOTHING to make a movie about? A movie about Solzhenitsyn? Sakharov? Anyone? Could it be that Hollywood can’t make these movies because…the U.S. was on the Wrong Side? Pathetic.
— Craig Z.
Mr. Bowman touches on a reality among the conspirators in Hitler’s assassination not readily appreciated by rebel-minded Americans (the ex-Englishmen sort). One such conspirator (although probably having nothing to do with Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg) was the Lutheran Pastor Dietrich Bonheoffer. American Lutherans often use Bonheoffer as an inspiring example for civil disobedience and activism; but this mischaracterizes the man. Bonheoffer, like most German Christians, took St. Paul’s admonition that civil authorities were established by God for the good of a sinful world and as Christians they must be obedient to the kings and princes of this world. Many if not most believed that God chose particular individuals to be in particular positions of power for specific times. Thus to war against a civil leader could be easily construed as a sin against God. Indeed, Bonheoffer was troubled that, even though he identified Hitler as the Antichrist, he might be sinning against God’s own obscure purposes or disobeying God’s command to submit to civil authority in the very least. Whether the plot was successful or not, Bonheoffer believed he would have to answer to God for the profound evil he commented in the name of the good.
From the 20/20 hindsight of history, we often wonder that so many with real power either did nothing or were so ineffective in an effort to remove Hitler. The Allied forces didn’t trust the German opposition and did nothing more than offer lip service. But there is another item to keep in mind: even if von Stauffenberg had actually succeeded, there is little reason to believe that the average German would have understood him.
— Mike Dooley
MORMONS DON‘T HAVE IT SO EASY
Re: Doug Bandow’s The Real Meaning of Religious Persecution:
Mr. Bandow seems to implicitly agree that Mormons (who vigorously supported Prop 8) are indeed Christians in including them in his discussion of religious non-persecution against Christians. That’s a first! Why didn’t he include them sooner in his Christian fold? He doesn’t, however, deal at all with the historic persecution of Mormons in America, which was the most violent of any religious group ever in this country, including an “Extermination Order” issued by Governor Lilburn Boggs of Missouri that any Mormon could be shot on site. He doesn’t mention the Hahn’s Mill massacre of Mormon women and children, cold blooded murder. The media and entertainment industry wasted no opportunity to vilify Mormons during Mitt Romney’s presidential bid, including Jon Voight’s movie “September Dawn” which he billed as a movie of the first act of religious terrorism in America (the Mountain Meadows massacre outside of Cedar City Utah in 1858 when an Federal Army was advancing on Utah). What other religious group has had a US Army sent against it in the US of A? He ignores the cold-blooded murder of the founder of Mormonism, Joseph Smith, for which justice was never even considered.
Does he not remember Waco, in which unproven charges of child abuse led the Clinton Justice Department under Janet Reno to mount an assault on the Branch Davidians, a fringe religious sect? I had the uncanny experience of reading Mario Vargas-Llosas’ novel, “The War at the End of the World” about a similar incident in Northeast Brazil at the end of the 19th Century in which a Brazilian army annihilated a small religious enclave at Canudos in a fashion eerily suggestive of the Waco incident a Century later in America (are we catching up with Brazil a century late?). No religious persecution in this country? The events in West Texas over the past year belie such nonsense.
Beyond persecution, it is hard to deny the massive religious bigotry exposed during the past presidential election. The foremost evidences of such bigotry occurred with Mitt Romney. He proved, along with Obama’s victory, that while America has moved beyond racial bigotry, it has certainly come nowhere near moving beyond religious bigotry. The other most overt manifestation of religious bigotry in the Presidential election was the treatment of Sarah Palin by the media. Evangelicals, though of influence in Republican primaries, continue to be denigrated ad libitum by the intellectualoids, as evidenced by the vitriol directed at Rick Warren’s token invitation to offer a prayer at the inaugural. To the contrary, Evangelicals now form the backbone of American values. The denigration of Palin’s beliefs and actions reflected not just misogyny, but a deep religious bigotry among the intellectualoids, the left, and the press. Nancy Pelosi gains kudos from the usual suspects for stating her view that killing unborn children is an economic stimulus, while Sarah Palin is pilloried for choosing life regardless of the circumstances. The perversion of liberals, hostile to human life and decency, ascendant politically, signals a nation in decline. What America wants is what the residents of Sodom and Gomorrah wanted with Lot’s daughter.
The fact that Mormons have been driven out of their livelihoods in California subsequent to their support for Prop 8 is not persecution? It is, both religious and political, in America! Those of a religious persuasion are being driven underground and out of the town square of democracy in America. That is not persecution? Christians seem to have a better deal in China these days than in the US.
— Kent Lyon
Re: Ben Stein’s A Bleak Day:
Thank you for revealing the Ideology of “Useless Eaters” (No Intelligence Allowed). I was reminded of the stoic explanation of the woman at the now museum. My family fled long before any of that came to power.
I hope we will never forget what HATE can bring.
— R. Lee
FOOL ME ONCE…
Re: Jeffrey Folks’s letter (under “Promises Made”) in Reader Mail’s Just Say No:
Mr. Folks asks “What happened to Obama’s promise to seniors? What do you call someone who promises you something over and over again, and then forgets about it when it’s to his advantage?”
What do you call a person who falls for those promises over and over again? I’d start by calling that person a fool.
— Garry Greenwood
A SIMPLE PLEA
Re: Enemy Central’s Super Republicans:
Do less, more often.
— P. Aaron Jones