Monday, January 11, 2010

Sauerkraut in the Bee

On January 2, 2010, the Sacramento Bee published a Charles Krauthammer column under the title Obama denial of jihadists' war is absurd. It was mostly a column about words. Krauthammer is upset that the president doesn't use the words he prefers. Here are some pertinent excerpts:
Obama banishes the term "war on terror." It's over—that is, if it ever existed.

Obama referred to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab as "an isolated extremist."

More jarring still were Obama's references to the terrorist as a "suspect" who "allegedly tried to ignite an explosive device."

Any government can through laxity let someone slip through the cracks. But a government that refuses to admit we are at war, indeed, refuses even to name the enemy—jihadist is a word banished from the Obama lexicon—turns laxity into a governing philosophy.
My letter on Krauthammer's intemperate column was published in the Bee on January 6.

Vitriol displaces logic

Re "Obama denial of jihadists' war is absurd" (Viewpoints, Jan. 2): Each year The Bee gets a little smaller. What editorial strabismus causes the newspaper to consider Charles Krauthammer worthy of any of the remaining space? In his intemperate denunciation of the Obama administration, Krauthammer dispenses with all forms of reason and logic in favor of undiluted vitriol.

He's terribly upset that would-be Christmas bomber Abdulmutallab is being treated as a criminal under the rule of law instead of being "vanished" into some secret torture cell. I seem to have missed Krauthammer's similar denunciations of the Bush administration for trying and convicting would-be shoe bomber Richard Reid for a nearly identical terrorist act.

He even objects to the president's use of the word "extremist" to characterize Abdulmutallab, as if that's not a fitting description for someone who sets off a bomb in his underwear. Krauthammer insists on the label "jihadist" because it blames the religion of Islam instead of the responsible individuals. He seems to care more about words than action.

Krauthammer is the quintessential political shill who tears his hair when Democrats do things and cheers when Republicans do the very same things. His commentary is worthless and predictable. The Bee should find someone else to fill his space.

—Anthony Barcellos, Davis

Karin Jones of Carmichael was quick to ignore the point of my letter and raised the specter of censorship in her rebuttal of January 11:

Love or hate him, let him speak

Re "Vitriol displaces logic" (Letters, Jan. 6): Remarkable, another letter writer bemoans the fact that The Bee prints a column written by a conservative, in this case targeting Charles Krauthammer. Why is it that liberals and progressives want to stifle all opposing views and voices? Aren't they supposed to be oh so open-minded and tolerant?

I personally despise Paul Krugman, and I disagree with all his views, but I would never ask The Bee to discontinue printing his column just because his political views are not to my liking. And even though I believe that Anthony Barcellos' letter was "worthless and predictable" (quoting his comment about Krauthammer), he had the right to express his opinion, and I have the right to express mine.

—Karin Jones, Citrus Heights

Yes, Krauthammer certainly has the right to express his opinions. He does not, however, have the right to a platform in the Bee. Furthermore, when his columns are replete with egregious inconsistencies that demonstrate he is no more than a partisan hack, the Bee is left without a valid reason for publishing him.