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Wed, July 17

Column: Harmless prattle? How 'bout telling that to the drunken horse?

Not surprisingly, last week's column focusing on Fox News and MSNBC and my liberal leanings evoked a rash of feedback from readers who were unanimous in their conclusion that the shallowness of my thinking knows no depth and that I'm without a doubt full of prunes. At the tail end of the column on the Courier website were 10 excoriating comments from: "MSNBC? Somebody get a rope!," "Find another hobby," "Another Opinion," "Phil Whitehead," "The Rev," "b b," "Jerry Jerry," "Joe Pandoli," "Tom Von Deck" and "Hooty Hoo." (Whew!)

The most detailed observation, however, arrived in an email from Prescott's Bob Dickinson, who made a number of valid points. And, he went along with my request to include his comments in this follow-up column. Here's what Bob had to say on the subject:

"This refers to your column published on Feb. 26 in the Courier. I occasionally read your column and have always found it to be harmless prattle. However, in today's column you crossed a line. Stating that you rarely watch Fox News and admitting that you get your information from MSNBC speaks volumes about you. Every person you mentioned having been associated with Fox was mentioned in a derogatory manner. In this day and age, it is customary for the majority of the news media to side with liberals and minimize anyone who disagrees with their viewpoint. As you yourself stated, you got your information from MSNBC. If you don't already know, Prescott has conservative values. I don't think it will take kindly to your minimizing non-liberals. I suggest that at the very least you watch Fox as often as you watch MSNBC. Then you can make up your mind on the issues and write columns in a more informed manner. Also, if you do that, you will clearly understand why Dennis Kucinich was hired by Fox, and why Fox is by far the most-watched cable channel in the country."

Regarding Fox's hiring of Dennis Kucinich, I must say that I was surprised - and delighted - at the news. He should contribute to fairness and balancing, much as is the case with Michael Steele, the first African-American chairman of the Republican National Committee who served in that position for two years ending in January 2011. He's been an MSNBC analyst since May 2011 and does a good job of articulating the GOP stance on issues, at least when he gets the chance. I say that because on those occasions when he's on Chris Matthews' show, which is often, his chances are at best spotty because Chris is much too much in love with his own voice. He'll pose a question of Steele, then - just before he can answer - Chris'll interrupt and start disputing what he THINKS Steele is going to say, then continues to interject his own opinions in just about every sentence that Steele is trying to complete. It's maddening. So why do I watch Chris? Good question. Self-flagellation, I suppose. God help me! But my favorite hosts on the channel are Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O'Donnell, who take more of a measured approach while mulling the news of the day.

Getting back to Bob Dickinson's reference to Prescott being a conservative town, I feel impelled (but hopefully not impaled) to broach the subject with both eyes open. You see, I DO have a few liberal friends in town, who I treasure, and I really hope to survive in this environment after digesting the aforementioned website comment from "Jerry Jerry" advising me to "just keep on drinking that MSNBC liberal swill," then adding that it's "probably a good thing you got out of Texas!"

Well, "Jerry Jerry," this Jerry got out at a good time because, back when I was growing up there, Texas and those Southern states east of it weren't red at all politically, but rather as blue as the sky above Lubbock - when a sandstorm wasn't in progress, that is. For example, that liberal Voting Rights Act of 1964 assuring equal balloting rights for every citizen became law when Texan LBJ was president following JFK's assassination. Since that time the law has been extended four times, with the most recent blessing coming in 2006 when George W. Bush was in the saddle, at which time it was reaffirmed in the Senate, by a 98-0 vote, and the House by a 390-33 count. And the vote called for a 25-year extension, so it should be in concrete until 2031. But its constitutionality, as of this past week, is now being scrutinized by the U.S. Supreme Court. (Constitutionality? It's a seven-syllable word which, when translated into Yiddish, means "kosher"). I'm hoping for a commonsensible approach by the court, but would never bet on it.

And "Jerry Jerry," I'm also hoping that I will somehow survive that "liberal swill" drinking fate to which you alluded. To butcher that old homily of "where there's a will there's a way," I'd like to make it "where there's a swill there's a sway." You see, I have this image of me in the role of Lee Marvin in the movie "Cat Ballou" as I ride out of town in a drunken liberal stupor astride an equally besotted horse, with a bunch of conservatives whacking the nag on the rump with 2-by-4s to hasten my exit.

How's THAT for harmless prattle?

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