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| Guest Columnist | Harry M. Covert | Jason Miller | Ken Kellar | Patricia A. Kelly | Cindy A. Rose |


As Long as We Remember...

August 7, 2018

Blatant Racism and Vile Writing

Harry M. Covert

Not for a second has fear reached this aerie that the free press is threatened by muzzling from the infernal guv’ment. It’s a mighty good subject but nonsensical.


If anything, destruction of a freewheeling printed newspaper isn’t going to result from outside sources. Death of the broadsheets and tabloids will come from within, not from the advertising and circulation departments, but from the news-editorial desks.


A case in point arose recently at The New York Times, the nation’s newspaper of record whether we like it or not. Most major cities and towns have their own dailies and weeklies where official history is maintained. These are most important. When research is needed for school reports and obituaries that’s where locals depend.


But, the national story lines in general start from the pages of The Sulzberger family’s typography. All the television and radio networks start lifting stories and ideas at the moment The Times hits the streets and the Internet.


Don’t believe for a moment the newspaper is falling apart or on the cusp of going under. It has made record profits of late.


However, one of the big questions as to the sanctity of The Times shocked the journalistic world a few days ago when the paper brazenly hired a known racist. With all of the quality writers out there, what possessed them to bring on board Sarah Jeong. The Korean-born naturalized citizen has made no bones about her hatred for white men and the world’s white people. She’s enjoyed spouting her animus without reprisal. This is the kind of stuff that will destroy that paper and any others with such content.


Newspapers are not to be public relations arms for the public and governments. The prints are to present the news, the facts. In this age there has been a dearth, a paucity, of just news. The custom nowadays is the massive influx of editorial commenting before readers reach the op-ed pages.


It is shameful that any paper would allow a self-described hater, or racist, on its editorial board. What disrespect to such Times alumni as William Safire, Arthur Krock, James Reston, Maureen Dowd, Judy Miller, C.L. Sulzberger, Harrison Salisbury, Red Smith, Arthur Daley and an incredible list of other Pulitzer Prize winners.


Certainly modern newspapering has changed to unbelievable stages of the news profession. There are numerous individuals known for their professed racism in the country. Editorial boards are not for such people.


Ms. Jeong tried to pass off her blatant racism and vile writing as attempts at humor. She’s no comedy writer.


President Donald Trump has railed against fake news. He’s not referring to freedom of the press. He’s pointing out the irreverent and constant disrespect to his leadership 24/7 without stopping. So many negative inferences to every aspect of the president’s life is condemned. No positive stories emanate from the professional haters. They are the pros who delve in fake news. The news consumers are tired of this style.


Newspaper women and men at all levels have been threatened. That includes veteran editors, reporters, columnists and writers.


There are exorbitant costs to publishing daily, weekly and monthly newspapers. They are vital.


It is an awful turn of events when a historical paper offers its pages to a racist like Sarah Jeong. In this free country such emigres don’t fear being stripped of citizenship and expatriated. Maybe that’s a thought.


There is solace perhaps from the words of that venerable newspaperman, H. L. Mencken:


“A newspaper is a device for making the ignorant more ignorant and the crazy crazier.”


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