Saturday, October 30, 2004

Sort of extreme

Over at City Lights, Tony Lewis brands me an "extreme moderate." As a great statesman once said, "Extremism in the defense of moderation is ... " well, never mind.

Unlike Tony, I have no particular interest in using my newspaper (or the blogosphere) as a soapbox to preach to the world. What does interest me is making the world a better and more reasonable place, even if only by tiny increments. I don't see how to do that by standing at one extreme and trying to pull the world toward you. I think you have to take up reasonable ground somewhere in the middle and try to steer in the direction you want to go.

Heck, you don't even have to know where you want to wind up. You just have to steer.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Excessive exaggeration

I was surprised to the see that the Gazette printed this letter today (scroll to the bottom). I have declined to print it.

I got suspicious when the writer said that Russ Doty's book is 108 pages long, and 54 of those pages are footnotes. I have a copy of the book in front of me. It is 134 pages long. Footnotes are included at the bottom of each page, so I don't know how many pages they cover, but they appear to be the sort of documentation one would expect in a well supported academic paper. The bibliography is nine pages long, including a lot of personal interviews.

Then there's the allegation that Doty lied about saying he worked for the Public Service Commission rather than the Railroad and Public Service Commission. The name changed; Doty's service did not, and I have never heard him misrepresent that. I also have never heard his "supporters" misuse the "assistant attorney general" title, although it is a confusing term and they might well have done so.

We've got about 80 political letters to the editor in the pipeline, and I don't fact check them all. I'm sure the Gazette can't either. But the obvious distortions in this letter jumped out at me.

The letter writer says that "excessive exaggeration is a sign of insecurity." Wonder what he's insecure about.

UPDATE: Now Russ Doty has filed an additional libel complaint, this one alleging seven more libels by Molnar and four in the letter cited above. Most of the new complaints against Molnar concern a letter he wrote to the Outpost last week. I think Doty's gone on a bit over the edge with this one.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Go West, young man

Just ran across this letter while trying to track down the spelling of Horace Greeley's name. I had to break my personal blogging ban long enough to ask this question: Will any current or future occupant of the White House, or any serious aspirant to that office, ever even once write anything so clear, so eloquent, so honest and so right?

I didn't think so.