Publisher Says Not Right Now To Censorship

After a truly disturbing display of political censorship in the past year, Simon & Schuster Chief Executive Jonathan Karp this week drew a sort of line in the sand.

One would expect a book by former Vice President Mike Pence to be the equivalent of processed cereal but that didn’t stop 216 employees at the nation’s third largest publisher from demanding the company refrain from publishing Pence’s memoir.

In an online petition, they call Pence “a central figure of a presidency that unequivocally advocated for racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, anti-Blackness, xenophobia, misogyny, ableism, islamophobia, antisemitism, and violence. This is not a difference of opinions; this is legitimizing bigotry.”

They forgot to mention that Pence also is the guy who refused to unilaterally halt the certification of electors in the 2020 election, thus earning him the enmity of his boss, GOP President Donald Trump. (It might be interesting to hear Pence’s views on this defining moment?)

In the petition, “Solidarity With the Workforce of Simon and Schuster,” the signers demand S&S cancel any more book deals with former members of the Trump administration. The Wall Street Journal says the petition signers represent about 14% of the S&S workforce.

Delicate Political Situation?

Karp states in an internal letter that S&S’s won’t cancel Pence’s book deal because its core mission includes publishing “a diversity of voices and perspectives.”

However, S&S is owned by ViacommCBS, which finds itself in a delicate situation right now.

Continue reading “Publisher Says Not Right Now To Censorship”

NYU Flap Highlights The Absurd State of Today’s Media

Almost the entire staff of a New York University student newspaper resigned recently after their advisor said they couldn’t use the term “murder” to describe the police shooting of Breonna Taylor.

Abby Hofstetter, 21, the managing editor of Washington Square News, quit in protest, followed by 43 other staff members. In a statement, they said the advisor, Prof. Kenna Griffin, an expert on student publications, was insensitive to black students.

According to the statement: “An editor stood up to Dr. Griffin’s demands and refused to edit out the word ‘murder’ from our article about Breonna Taylor’s murder at the hands of Louisville cops. Dr. Griffin demanded the Managing Editor discipline them, as she ‘didn’t want to have a full deal publicly.’”

The situation is ludicrous but it is no wonder at a time when supposedly respectable newspapers blur the line between the editorial page and the opinion section. A case in point is the New York Times’ 1619 Project; overwhelming evidence shows the series falsely asserts that America fought the Revolutionary War to protect slavery. Yet, it won a Pulitzer Prize.

Murder is a Legal Term

What the NYU students apparently fail to grasp is that “murder” is a legal term defined by state statute. Generally, a person is guilty of murder when s/he has been convicted in a court of law for intentionally causing  the death of another person. Intent is established through admission or evidence and decided by a jury.

Libel

A newspaper could be sued for libel for publishing an article calling someone a murderer who has not met the condition precedent – conviction of the crime in a court of law.

The most sacred principle in America’s criminal jurisprudence is that a person is innocent until proven guilty.

Continue reading “NYU Flap Highlights The Absurd State of Today’s Media”

The Lesson of Justice Ginsburg Soon Forgotten

President Donald J. Trump was booed this week as he and his wife, Melania, payed silent homage to the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the steps on the Supreme Court building.

Regardless of how you feel about Trump, there is a sad irony in this.

Justice Ginsburg’s creed was civility. For example, she frequently disagreed – fundamentally and vehemently – with the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia but she counted him as a friend, and vice-versa. Her advice to the younger generation was be nice while doing good.

Ginsburg offers a model of respect and courteousness that the other branches of America’s government should aspire to.

Where Is the Coronavirus Relief Package?

On Friday, CBS television personality Gayle King asked Democratic House Majority Speaker Nancy Pelosi if she still thinks Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden should refuse to debate GOP candidate Trump.

Yes, says Pelosi, explaining, “I just think that the President has no fidelity to fact or truth … He and his henchmen are a danger with their comments, are a danger to our democracy.  I didn’t want to give him, you know, why bother – you know, he doesn’t tell the truth.”

King observes:  “ …Your language to some is just as egregious as what they’re saying by calling the President’s people henchmen.  Some could say that’s just as insulting as what he’s saying about you.”

Continue reading “The Lesson of Justice Ginsburg Soon Forgotten”