Back in September, I thanked Sierra Vista (AZ) Herald readers whose overwhelming response in favor of my column persuaded the paper's editor to retain it following his unusual act, in effect, of putting his editorial decision to a vote. Now comes an out and out broadside against me and my work from the editor of the Hanover (PA) Evening Sun. In a column of his own, Editor Marc Charisse announced he's "getting ready to pull the plug on" yours truly. (You may click here to leave comments at the bottom of his column.) Charisse writes:
I am, however, getting ready to pull the plug on Diana West, whose column often appears on Saturdays in The Evening Sun.
In an October 2007 column written when we had to replace some of our other columnists, I said West "never met a Muslim she didn't hate."
"I'm no mullah-lover myself," I added, "but OK already, we get your point. Find something else to write about or we'll find another columnist."...
Incidentally, a doctor-friend of mine calls this a classic case of "projection": Conflicted by his own feelings about Muslims, Charisse punishes me! The editor continues:
This election, though, has added sharp new subtext to the subject of Muslims and a couple of readers--one caller and one letter writer--
Count 'em, two readers
-- have argued West's column is increasingly confrontational, inappropriate and out of place. I have to agree, and unless there's a chorus of reasoned argument on her behalf, she'll soon be replaced.
Hey, how about Donna Brazile? He continues:
In my youth, demands that something be banned were usually enough to convince me they had to stay in print. But over time, I've come to realize some things just aren't worth saying. Still, while we're on the subject of Muslims--
(There he goes again)
--the intolerance of some Islamic sects, their seeming affinity for censorship, continue to bother me more than the pronouncements of ... Diana West.
"There are regimes in the world where ideas 'offensive' to the majority (or at least those who control the majority) are suppressed. There, life proceeds at a monotonous pace," Justice William Douglas wrote in one of his many free-speech opinions. "Most of us would find that world offensive. One of the most offensive experiences in my life was a visit to a nation where bookstalls were filled only with books on mathematics and books on religion."
It's clear Douglas is referring to one of the more conservative Islamic lands, and I never wanted my own country to be like that.
I'd still like to think we're up to the responsibilities that should come with freedom of speech.
Marc Charisse is the editor of The Evening Sun. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Um, yeah. That's exactly how it ends (including the email address). As I mentioned at the top, if you click here, there is a place at the bottom of his column to add a comment if anyone is so inclined. My Letter to the Editor is here.