Saturday, September 02, 2006

Lies in Print

I recently wrote this letter to the editors of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. When you realize how pathetic and destructive political discourse is in our society, you'll understand why I am compelled to write on the Internet.

Dear Editors,

After reading last Sunday's opinion section cover-to-cover, I was bothered by what appeared to be two blatantly false statements made by two columnists in an attempt to damage the reputation of their political opponents.

First, was Jonah Goldberg's assertion that "...the ACLU... finds powers not created by the Constitution every day and periodically declares such inanities as the idea that the Constitution forbids teachers from reading "The Chronicles of Narnia" in class lest the tykes' young minds be corrupted by hidden messages about Christianity".

This sounded odd, and unlike the ACLU. I did a rather thorough web-search on the topic, and could not find a single mention of the ACLU objecting to the reading of "The Chronicles of Narnia"--and I even searched "". I only found one case where a group had objected to the use of "The Chronicles of Narnia" in public schools, and that objection came from "Americans United for the Separation of Church and State". Furthermore, even if Goldberg had confused the AUSCS with the ACLU, his representation of the situation was distorted to the point of being deceptive.

The second misrepresentation came from Ann Coulter, who wrote that "(Democrats) oppose every bust of a terrorist cell, sneering that the cells in Lackawanna, New York City, Miami, Chicago and London weren't a real threat...". I doubt that any Democratic office-holder or party-official "opposed" the bust of any group planning to commit violence. In fact, while roaming the Democratic blogosphere, I have never noticed any opposition to these busts, even though any nut can post to a blog. As I understand the debate, the relevant information is that most Democrats claim that Bush and his policies did not contribute to these successful busts. So to make it clear, Democrats were CELEBRATING these busts, while denying that Bush had anything to do with them.

I assume that both of these authors were paid for their columns, and it is disappointing to find that they got away with such shoddy research. I can find better commentary on blogs.

Adam Ricketson

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