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The new political-correctness police
Posted By Joseph Farah On 09/26/2001 @ 1:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled
There are so many important events taking place so fast in our world today that what I am about to tell you may seem trite.
I bring it to your attention not because I’m being victimized, but because I believe it is indicative of a new wave of self-righteous “political correctness” sweeping America.
On Sept. 13, two days after the tragic terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon, WorldNetDaily contributor Anthony LoBaido wrote a column about his feelings. It was unrefined and inarticulate. It was clearly from the gut. The timing was poor. From my perspective, the column was tasteless and ill-advised.
As the chief executive officer of the company, I seldom read commentary pieces before they are published. Had I done so, I probably would have advised LoBaido to hold off and give it a little more thought and reflection. But I don’t. I delegate that authority to others. I try not to second-guess their decisions on such subjective matters – and I’m not doing it here.
The important thing to remember is that LoBaido does not speak for WorldNetDaily. No one does in the editorial “we” sense. Not even me.
In the midst of the Sept. 11 tragedy, there wasn’t much reaction to the LoBaido column. Most people had more important issues on their minds – like trying to figure out what was happening to our world.
But not the case, apparently, with Virginia Postrel, the former editor of Reason magazine – who flew into a frenzy over her own misinterpretation of LoBaido’s words. Her conclusions were that LoBaido is some kind of anti-American zealot who excuses or rationalizes the attack on New York. (It should be pointed out right here that LoBaido lives in New York, not far from ground zero. He’s also one of the most patriotic young men in America. But I digress.)
Postrel also took it upon herself to try to persuade WorldNetDaily columnist Hugh Hewitt to break his ties with WorldNetDaily as a result of the piece by LoBaido. She was unsuccessful. Hewitt responded, appropriately, that he had more important things to worry about than LoBaido.
Next, Postrel’s tirade was picked up by James Taranto in the Wall Street Journal’s “Best of the Web” e-mail and posted on the paper’s subscriber website.
Here it is in its entirety under the headline, “Joseph Farah, Purveyor of Obscenity”:
Speaking of fundamentalist fanatics, Virginia Postrel calls our attention to another stunning piece of work, by someone called Anthony LoBaido, which appeared Thursday on the right-wing site WorldNetDaily:
“In the West, we most often see Islamic people as crazed and irrational. But have we considered that the Muslims might not be irrational when they consider America to be akin to Satan? Let’s look at the Satanic Bible. What are the values of Satan? Lust, greed, gluttony, revenge. Hmm. Sounds like American society. Is New York the head of the ‘Great Satan’? All that is evil in the world can be found in New York: MTV, the United Nations, the U.N. abortion programs, the Council on Foreign Relations, New Age Church of St. John the Divine, Wall Street greed, Madison Avenue manipulation and of course more confirmed AIDS cases than the rest of America combined. Let’s remember the filthy sodomite gay parade last summer in New York. Let’s remember all the New York politicians falling all over themselves to praise this sick spectacle.
“And let’s not forget that New Yorkers elected – by a landslide – the openly Marxist, treasonous and abortion-mongering, occultic Hillary to a Senate seat. All while fully knowing what she was all about. …
“So are we all innocent here in New York? Are we innocent with our porno, drugs, filthy Jay Leno monologues, our idolatry, materialism and consumerism?”
Postrel writes that “there are some people … whom civilized people should not let into our houses. Not only LoBaido but the editors who published him should be shunned.” We wholeheartedly agree. WND’s honcho, Joseph Farah, ought to hang his head in shame for publishing this obscene anti-American screed.
A couple things to point out here:
But that wasn’t the end of the attacks – on LoBaido or me or WND.
Taranto and the Wall Street Journal got back into it Thursday, Sept. 20, this time trying to appeal to WorldNetDaily columnist Bill O’Reilly to break his ties with the news-site over the LoBaido affair. This broadside came under the headline, “Does Bill O’Reilly Consort with America-Haters?” Here it is, again, unedited and unexpurgated:
On his Tuesday show, Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly confronted Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition and demanded to know if her group would break off contact with Jerry Falwell over the ugly remarks he made (and for which he subsequently apologized) after last week’s apology. Said the No Spin Zoner: “If your organization, the traditional values organization, embraces, deals with, or anything like that, and I’m sorry, I’m not saying you shouldn’t forgive him personally, because we all should forgive everybody personally. But your organization’s going to be damaged, Miss Lafferty, if you’re tied into guys like this.”
Well, check out O’Reilly’s page on Foxnews.com. There in bright blue is a link that reads: “Read Bill’s column on WorldNetDaily.com.” Go to the WND homepage, and there’s a prominent ad for O’Reilly’s book: “COMING, OCT. 1, AUTOGRAPHED, PERSONALIZED, An Exclusive for WorldNetDaily.” Click through for the “Best deal yet on ‘No Spin Zone.’”
WorldNetDaily, as we noted Sunday, last week published an obscene anti-American screed by one Joseph LoBaido. It was similar to Falwell’s infamous remarks, only even nastier; and so far as we know, neither LoBaido nor WND editor Joseph Farah has apologized for it. Will O’Reilly promptly end his relationship with WorldNetDaily? If he doesn’t, his comments to Andrea Lafferty were nothing more than spin.
Now, you’ll notice the care with which this last item was produced. Anthony LoBaido became Joseph LoBaido. The agenda begins to come through. This is an attempt to go to war with WorldNetDaily – to break its ties with its talent, to target not one columnist for attack but the entire business of WorldNetDaily, to silence this renegade and independent voice.
Taranto calls me a “purveyor of obscenity” for carrying some unpopular opinions. Indeed, some, in the post-Sept. 11 climate might consider him a purveyor of obscenity for his newspaper’s official, party-line, somewhat extreme position in favor of open borders. After all, the terrorists among us came from somewhere. Lucky for him, I don’t resort to calling people names. I prefer to debate the issues — and provide a lively forum for such debate in my online news service.
Again, I’m not looking for sympathy. But I think this episode points out that, following the terrorist strikes on the U.S., reactionary forces within our country are ready to create a whole new wave of guilt-by-association blacklisting, whipping up hysteria and paranoia and witch-hunting. It’s certainly beneath a powerful news organization like the Wall Street Journal. Aren’t there more important devils out there than me and Anthony LoBaido?
By the time you read this column, Bill Maher’s “Politically Incorrect” show on ABC may already be canceled. Why? Not because it is a thoroughly unfunny and tasteless show, which it is. But because Maher broke the new post-Sept. 11 political-correctness standard by calling America cowardly.
I’ve seen him say a lot worse than that plenty of times.
Then there’s Jerry Falwell – another WorldNetDaily columnist who has been castigated for off-the-cuff remarks he made on a television show about sin in America and how it relates to tragedies like we saw Sept. 11. Inarticulate? Yes. Criminal? Hardly.
This is dangerous, America. It’s happened before in our history. Let’s not allow it to happen, again. Let’s preserve one of the things that makes America so special – the free flow of ideas – no matter how much we might not like them.
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