Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Susie Bright is very angry

The perenially feisty Susie Bright offers this suggested letter to Chuck Baldwin, the editor of a South Dakota paper who said he would not be writing any editorials on abortion. They wouldn't change anyone's minds, and people might conceive the notion that people at the paper had the wrong opinion on the subject.

Dear Mr. Baldwin:

So you aren't running any editorials on the South Dakota abortion ban!

Are you high? — or do you just not care about being the laughingstock of your entire profession?

If you do not cover the pressing news and opinions of of the day, you can just turn in your "reporter" badge to the little clown car people who would be happy to outfit you with a diaper and a party hat.

What is your paper's record?

When did an editorial ban come up before? Iraq, Vietnam, perhaps? Gee, those were touchy issues too. And civil rights made so many people upset. I don't know how you get the nerve to discuss something as hot as presidential elections, either. Even the fluoride debate might be a little too steamy for the Argus (gulp) Leader!

I've been a working journalist more than thirty years, like you. I'm a freelancer now, but I've worked for small-town and big city dailies. I've been the plaintiff in landmark 1st Amendment cases defending the right to publish editorial without prior restraint. (See Bright vs. Los Angeles Board of Education).

Gee, I guess I shouldn't have BOTHERED, because gutless wonderments like the Board of the Argus Leakypants don't need to publish anything that might get under someone's skin.

Have a nice weather section, Chuck. But watch out... you know, Bill Napoli might think your meteorology isn't in God's plan. He might have another one of his wicked fantasies you wouldn't want to touch with a ten-foot abortion exception.

I see from your biography that you take special interest in "race and refugee issues." Can you imagine not speaking out on Kosovo because it was a "hot button issue"?

Like Grandma always said, it's time to grow a spine. It's the only way out of this hell. Your problem isn't lack of opinion. This is the biggest thing that has happened in South Dakota since the stand-off with the FBI at the Pine Ridge Reservation. Did the Argus Leader cover THAT on their editorial page?

Redemption could be yours, at least professionally. Send out announcements when you find gravity.

Susie Bright

Chuck Baldwin is probably on to something. Let's look at similar editorials throughout history

Kristallnacht

"Who wants to make a fuss? If the Germans want to smash some glass, who am I to offend any potential readers who might agree with the National Socialists? I'm a friend of the Jews, and a friend to the Nazis. As a journalist, if I make both sides angry, I must be doing something right!"
1963 Birmingham Church Bombing
"Look, the right to free expression is fully enshrined in the constitution, and this is simply an extreme expression that our paper doesn't need to comment on. It was just a tragic accident that the bomber happened to kill four little girls. We wouldn't want to offend any readers who agree with the bomber, and we certainly wouldn't be able to change their mind, so we will not begin to try."
U.S. Civil War
"Now, we are aware that we have some readers who believe that negroes are farm animals that can be bought and sold, and other readers who believe that negroes are actual human beings. We might possibly have an opinion on the subject, but how could we tell anyone else what to think?"
Suffragette movement
"Should the gentler sex vote in America? The last thing to do, we believe, would be to write editorials that might incite our readers into thinking that we had a different opinion on this important topic than they do."

Here's the contact info, if you're feeling like offering some feedback:
Chuck Baldwin's email.
Argus Leader
P.O. Box 5034,
Sioux Falls, SD 57117-5034.
Fax: (605) 331-2294.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Huh, you've time to write this, and no time to call me. I'm withering away here in Oz.

Tuesday, 14 March, 2006  
Blogger travis said...

they track me down, from the ends of the earth. and have you called me? are your arms actually broken? are you lying in a ditch somewhere, posting comments on my blog? don't they have some kind of signaling systems in Australia you could use -- smoke signals or drums or something? it all seems suspicious, somehow, and yet here I am sitting in the dark, typing, waiting for your call. if I smoked, I would just be puffing away like a fiend right now.

we miss you terribly, eddy.

Tuesday, 14 March, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's where we're going with the abortion debate: "If you hand out contraception to single women, we're saying promiscuity is OK as a state, and I am not in support of that," Phillips, R-Kansas City, said in an interview.

The Missouri House is trying to limit funding for family planning and women's health services.

Thursday, 16 March, 2006  
Anonymous rle said...

OMG. More on crazy Republican attitudes about sex and abortion:

(This comes from Ed Kilgore at newdonkey.com)

Today, reading a recent edition of the excellent Political Insider column by Atlanta Journal-Constitution political reporters Jim Galloway and Tom Baxter, I ran across this revelation into the little-known nexus between two issues cultural conservatives often focus on, abortion and immigration, as expressed by a Georgia Republican legislator:


Democrats have been buzzing about comments made by state Sen. Nancy Schaefer (R-Turnerville) at a recent eggs-and-issues breakfast in Hart County. We quote from the Hartwell Sun newspaper:

"Commenting on illegal immigration, Schaefer said 50 million abortions have been performed in this country, causing a shortage of cheap American labor. 'We could have used those people,' she said."

Now that's a novel talking point that even the eager abortion-criminalizers of South Dakota haven't thought of yet: overturn Roe v. Wade, and replenish the supply of cheap, English-speaking help.

Thursday, 16 March, 2006  

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