Friday, June 20, 2014

Tolerance - the moment between breathing out one orthodoxy and breathing in another.

Newspaper drops opinion columnist George Will for expressing a blasphemous opinion.

HH: So tell me if you would, specifically, what was offensive, and specifically, what was inaccurate?
TM: And let me be clear, and I actually wrote an email to Mr. Will’s secretary today explaining the same question. He had a question about the inaccuracy. We weren’t referring necessarily to a factual inaccuracy, but we believed that the very assumption or opinion that sexual assault victims in any way on college campuses are seeking privileged status, or that universities are trying to bestow that status on women, is completely inaccurate, and don’t believe that the evidence shows that that is to be true. And mostly, it’s offensive. It allows, it continues for the victimization of women and diminishes the importance that we should place on the very serious prevalence of sexual assault on college campuses.
HH: Did you, so you are agreeing there is no place where a factual inaccuracy exists in Mr. Will’s column?
TM: To the best of my knowledge, no, there is not, and we did not correct one.
HH: All right, and so the column just offended you and your folks because of the representations it made. Now I have a factual question in your years as an opinion columnist, and you’ve written opinion columns for a long time, haven’t you?
TM: Yes, I have.
HH: Have you ever written an opinion column mentioning Juanita Broaddrick or Kathleen Willey?
TM: To the best of my memory, no, but it just doesn’t ring a bell right now.
HH: Do you know who they are?
TM: No.
HH: They are the women that President Clinton assaulted, at least who alleged that President Clinton assaulted them. George Will once wrote in the Los Angeles Times that he believed President Clinton had actually raped Juanita Broaddrick, though he didn’t use her by name. The Los Angeles Times dropped that reference. They later had to apologize for that. Would you understand how I might see it was something of an odd standard to be upset about a column that I don’t find offensive when you haven’t taken up the defense of women assaulted by the president of the United States?
TM: I guess I could understand that. I don’t, this fascination of comparing everything back to Bill Clinton and how many years ago was that, and now, I’m going to recall what I did or didn’t write about that, I mean, that, to me, that sort of obfuscates the message. But yes, I can understand how some people might believe that a different standard was applied in various cases, whether it’s this case versus a case ten years ago, or a different case. People make that accusation as it relates to politics all the time. And I’m not going to offer a judgment as to whether or not that’s unfair.
HH: What I’m looking for, though, is your standard of being offended, because obviously, you weren’t offended by Bill Clinton. You didn’t write about it at the time. Are you offended by Al Sharpton and his manipulation of women claiming victimhood in the past?
TM: Well, you’re saying I didn’t write about Bill Clinton at the time. I don’t know that I, I don’t believe I wrote about that particular situation. But I was probably a news reporter at the time and not an opinion page editor. So again, I think that’s, you’re making a jump there to a conclusion that is probably unfair.
HH: Well, I don’t think unfair. I think there’s this giant double standard for left wingers. They overlook real sexual assault by people who ought to be named and shamed, and they go after people like George Will who write about a controversial study that’s got quite a lot of academic issues with it having to do with arithmetic. They fire him, you publicly shame him. You call him offensive. But I can’t determine the standard by which you do so. And so I bring up Al Sharpton only because of Tawana Brawley. He manipulated that young woman. Do you agree with that, by the way?
TM: I didn’t study that particular case significantly, so I mean, you know, I’m just going to try to be careful about making judgments about things that happened years ago that I may or may not have written about. I have spent most of my career writing about local and state issues. I have not spent most of my career writing about national issues. And so to say that I didn’t write about something, and then to make that jump to say that I have a different standard, while you incorrectly call me a lefty, I’m just going to be careful about not answering that, because am I offended by some of the things that Al Sharpton has said and done over the years? Yes. Have I necessarily written about it? I couldn’t tell you.
HH: But I think silencing people and shaming them for perceived beliefs…
TM: I didn’t silence anybody.
HH: Oh, you silenced George Will. You have, I mean, you’ve censored him.
TM: I took him out of our paper.
HH: He’s out of your paper. You’ve censored him, right? That’s what censorship is.
TM: No, no, governments, come on, governments censor. Newspapers don’t censor.
HH: No, that’s actually, I teach Con Law. All sorts of people censor. I censor people all the time when I throw them off my show. I mean, I’m a censor.
TM: Yeah.
HH: I make choices. It’s not government censorship. It’s not prohibited by the 1st Amendment.

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