Editor and Publisher is the trade rag for the rag trade (you know, the newspaper business) and they are just a wee bit freaked out. It seems that USA Today founder Al Neuharth recently ran a remarkably un-shrill opinion piece in USAT suggesting that the US bring our troops home. “‘Support Our Troops’ is a wonderful patriotic slogan,” wrote the 80-year-old WWII veteran. “But the best way to support troops thrust by unwise commanders in chief into ill-advised adventures like Vietnam and Iraq is to bring them home. Sooner rather than later. That should be our New Year’s resolution.”
E&P printed a column that mentioned–not endorsed–this relatively mild viewpoint… but from the letters they got you would think he had advocated running al Zarqawi for Senate from Illinois. Really, read their roundup of reader responses. They include such nuggets of patriotism as:
Joe McBride, Fort Dodge, Iowa: “Mr. Neuharth, thanks to you and your ignorance the terrorists are probably booking their flights to the U.S. now! If we pull out of Iraq with the job unfinished the terrorists will be bombing McDonalds, and blowing up malls and schools here, killing our innocent men, women and children.”
These terrorists, do you figure they use Expedia to book the flights?
Duggan Flanakin, Austin, Texas: “Neuharth should be tried for treason along with a lot of other blowhards who should be spending their energies condemning the barbarism of our enemies, the same people who destroyed the Twin Towers.“
This just in: The Iraqis did not blow up the Twin Towers! I say we get that put on a branding iron and track down the Red State idiots still pumping that lunacy and pop a helpful reminder right on their foreheads!
Boots Harvey, Brentwood, CA: “One must recall that Churchill had to put up with the likes of Lord Haw-Haw, William Joyce, and his propaganda during WWII. In the end William Joyce was executed for giving aid and comfort to the enemy during war time. Would that the same fate befall Al Neuharth!”
So… if Neuharth is giving “aid and comfort,” where does that put us? Figure we have FBI files yet?
Mel Gibbs: “The Patriot Act will put both of you (Neuharth and Mitchell) on trial for treason and convict and execute both of you as traitors for running these stories in a time of war and it should be done on TV for other communist traitors like you two to know we mean business. This is war and you should be put in prison NOW for talking like this. Who the hell do you people think you are? You give aid and comfort to our enemies and aid them in murdering our proud soldiers. You people are a disgrace to America. Your families should be put in prison with you, then be made to leave and move to the Middle East …This is a great Christian nation and god wants us to lead the world out of darkness with great leaders like President George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Communists like Al and Greg will soon be in prison and on death row for your ugly papers. We won the election and now you are mad. We own America and all the rights, you people are trash, go back to Russia and Africa and take your friends with before we put you on death row after a fair trial.”
Again with the “aid and comfort.” A) Ownership society or not, you don’t “own” rights. B) “Russia and Africa really says it all about this, doesn’t it?
So: to recap. Opinion pieces: bad. Questioning war: evil. Wanting to bring home the troops: helping Osama blow up malls and McDonaldses. 80-year-old veterans who disagree with Resolute Leader: first against the wall when Bush really gets serious about terrorism.
This isn’t like McCarthyism. It’s worse. McCarthy was far, far to the right of all but the John Birch lunatics in the hinterlands. Some fair percentage of Bush’s supporters are so far to the right of him that we should be really frightened. (Which of course we are.)