Mark Twain was quoted "Never pick a fight with a man who buys his ink by the barrel." I ignored this excellent advice the last few weeks. First, debating with Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Eugene Kane by E-mail, over whether Judge Louis Butler would have better preserved his integrity by declining Governor Doyle’s appointment to the State Supreme Court after losing his first election against Judge Diane Sykes by a substantial margin. Anyone interested in more detail on this subject is referred to my previous blog.
Second, debating with the editor of the News Graphic in a similar exchange of E-mails, all because I forwarded to him an E-mail to me from one of his columnists. I had the temerity to criticize his column in a letter to the editor published by the paper. I frankly was surprised to get an E-mail from the columnist himself and more so to be accused therein of practicing fascism and supporting a visit to him by the "thought police."
That E-mail got my attention, so I did a fast Internet search on the columnist, reading some excerpts from his published book on Amazon Reader Online. What I found was a hard left author who expressed, in my opinion, a serious anti-American bent.
So, I thought I would forward the columnist’s E-mail to the editor with some comments regarding his possible paranoia regarding a visit from the "thought police" as well as his hard left, anti-America leanings. My purpose was innocent enough, to make sure the editor knew his columnist’s background and leanings. Certainly, he and all columnists are free to express their opinions on the paper’s pages – no one can challenge that. On the other hand, editors, especially of small local papers, should be aware of the background of their columnists to insure presenting a balanced approach. You can see that in the pages of the Journal Sentinel where liberal columnists such as Maureen Dowd and Bob Herbert are balanced by conservative columnists such as Cal Thomas and George Will.
Well, what I thought was a relatively benign E-mail to the editor turned into anything but. The roof fell in on me through a series of E-mails from the editor accusing me of bullying and character assassination. It appears my E-mail to the News Graphic editor, pointing out several truths, was far worse in his eyes, than the columnist’s E-mail to me accusing me of practicing fascism and wanting to sic the "thought police" on him.
Lesson learned – the editor’s and presumably the News Graphic’s credo is that criticism they agree with is perfectly acceptable but criticism they disagree with is bullying and character assassination. So, I give up – their ink supply is inexhaustible – mine has run out. Now you can decide!