I submitted the following to The New York Times as an opinion piece. They aren't going to run it.
TIME TO LOOK IN THE MIRROR
When I was growing up in Boston, I read The Globe but Sundays were for The New York Times. All newspapers gave us the news I suppose but it was always made clear to me that The New York Times was on a different level, a different class.
I don't feel that way anymore.
Yesterday was Memorial Day and all day something that I read in The Boston Globe bothered me, it was just one word, but it irritated me all day, right through the family barbecue.
GOP RIVALS EMBRACE UNPROVEN IRAQ-9/11 TIE.
There are plenty of things that are unproven that with time and effort will be proven true. The tie between Iraq and 9/11, however, is not one of those things. In fact, it has been proven many times to not exist. The counter to a lie is not the other side of the story -- it's the fact that the first person is lying. (Check the Swift Boat Veterans coverage from around the country for more on this. They were lying. The story was that they were lying and why -- not what John Kerry had to say about it.)
So what if the headline had read instead:
GOP RIVALS CONTINUE TO FLAUNT IRAQ-9/11 LIE.
Quite a difference, isn't it? But that's The Globe and even though you own it, it's not The New York Times. Today, both papers share the news:
TEN MORE AMERICAN SOLDIERS DIE IN IRAQ.
Someone I admire greatly wrote a book about this recently, and what's happened to our country and our debate. His name is Al Gore and his book is called The Assault on Reason.
I didn't expect Fox News to love the book. Nor did I think that Matt Drudge and others would tout it. They didn't. But I did think that The New York Times would view it for what it is: a very thoughtful book written by a very smart dedicated man who loves his country and wants his grandchildren to enjoy a better world, or at least as good a world, as he did.
Maureen Dowd wrote a column about Al Gore last week. She called it:
PASS THE CLAM DIP.
In it, she dismisses the "Goracle" and questions Doug Brinkley on "fat Presidents."
David Brooks wrote an article as well this week. He called it:
THE VULCAN UTOPIA
Here's a bit from it, the second paragraph is a quote from the book.
If you're going to read Al Gore's book, you're going to have to steel yourself for a parade of sentences like the following:
"The remedy for what ails our democracy is not simply better education (as important as that is) or civic education (as important as that can be), but the re-establishment of a genuine democratic discourse in which individuals can participate in a meaningful way -- a conversation of democracy in which meritorious ideas and opinions from individuals do, in fact, evoke a meaningful response."
But, hey, nobody ever died from contact with pomposity, and Al Gore's The Assault on Reason is well worth reading. It reminds us that whatever the effects of our homogenizing mass culture, it is still possible for exceedingly strange individuals to rise to the top.
I don't find Al Gore fat or strange.
I do find it tragic that your newspaper and its 'columnists' have chosen to fall to a new low for your newspaper. I imagine them high-fiving each other like high school bullies. "The fish rots from the head" is the old expression. Imagine what the work of Ms. Dowd and Mr. Brooks says about the future of journalism among other things.
I am just a blogger, of course, so I will be easy to dismiss. I sued to be an advertising and marketing executive (worse?) and someday I think I might run for office. (You guys will love that: former ad exec turned blogger turned politician.)
But I do share something with Mr. Gore. I was on a call with him last week. He said "I love this country." I do too. Sometimes on late night plane flights, I look down at the lights and wonder what kind of country my son and daughter will live in. I look in the plane window, see my reflection and wonder, how I can make it better, what can I do?