Saturday, April 02, 2005

Holiday From Hate

Pope John Paul II has died and along with that event comes a period of respectful reflection even at our humble local paper. Comments will be solicited expressing deep affection for the holy see that will seem to convey a respect that comes only in death. Most assuredly that period will end because this Pope, Karol Wojtyla, was generally disliked by the working press and their target audience of like-minded readers.

He is described as very conservative, right wing and not respectful of other voices--not that they respected his, mind you. His views on social issues ranging from right to life to personal morality was an unwelcome challenge. Ask those in the news business and they will claim no bias--only the bias of presenting the news fairly. Self-reporting is notoriously inaccurate--especially in matters of religion. Selections from recent Palo Alto Daily News issues make that point:
  • "The religious right and their friends in Congress are quick to come to the aid of Terri Schiavo along with unborn fetuses, but where are they when it comes to the millions of children who are living in dangerous conditions?"--Larry Magid, March 21st column
  • "The fundamentalist Christians controlling the GOP have moved another step toward their goal of forcing an ultra conservative Christian theocracy upon the nation. This is as despicable as the Taliban imposing extreme provisions of Islamic (Shariah) law in Muslim countries--Robert B. Burns, Mountain View, March 23rd letter to the editor
  • "Ashley Smith, the 26 year old woman who was held hostage by Brian Nichols, the accused Atlanta courthouse killer, has been canonized by virtually every American news organization as God's messenger because she inspired Mr. Nichols to surrender by talking about her faith and reading him a chapter from Rick Warren's bestseller, "The Purpose Driven Life." But if she's speaking for God, what does that make Dennis Rader, the Church council president arrested in Wichita's B.T.K. serial killer case?"--Frank Rich, March 28th column
  • "But it is also true of the United States, where dangerous extremists belong to the majority religion and the majority ethnic group and wield great political influence."--Paul Krugman, March 29th column
  • "We should demand that Congress stop grandstanding in behalf of extremist religious groups and start protecting true moral values."--Rachelle Marshall, Stanford, March 3oth letter to the editor
  • "The fanatics that come in the name of religion trouble me the most."--Toni M. Villa, Mountain View, April 1st letter to the editor

The period of mourning will end followed by the usual editorial policy of allowing free voice to nearly any ill-tempered anti-religious bigotry. Rest in peace Pope John Paul II.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm, isn't every reference made an opinion piece? A letter to the editor or an editorial column? News bias exists but the references you made aren't too good.

10:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the opinion page the right place for this. I'm sure the Daily would print a letter from you if you have an alternate view. I agree with most the things you say otherwise.

7:43 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

The Daily News claims that they will not publish abusive letters and opinion. Abuse is defined as using or containing insulting or coarse language. I see abuse, but test it yourself by swapping one group for another--say, blacks, Jews, Chinese or Muslims.

9:15 PM  

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