1 Commenter Other Bill had to ruin my evening by posting this defense of Jamele Hill from a Sports Illustrated writer, which would be enough for me to cancel my subscription if I had one.
“I was going to give this a pass. Truly, I was. Jamele Hill, the gifted young woman who co-hosts ESPN’s The Six every night with my old Morrissey Boulevard running buddy Michael Smith, got on her electric Twitter machine and tweeted out her unremarkable—and damned near irrefutable—opinion that the current president of the United States is a racist and a white supremacist. This drew the usual screams from the political flying monkeys of the American Right. ESPN responded with a craven corporate response that I’ll get to in a minute, but let me just say right now that you will not believe that the response was written by anyone who ever came within a light-year of any newsgathering operation. OK, so I thought that was pretty much it. I agreed with everything Hill tweeted. I thought what she said should be obvious to everyone in America at this point. She delivered her opinion. There was the customary cyber-bullying pushback, and we all move on.”
This is a perfect example of why sports writers should be seen and not read or listened to on non-sports topics. Let’s see:
a) The fact that she is “gifted”—a matter of opinion: a smart ESPN broadcaster wouldn’t do something this stupid—is irrelevant to the controversy. So a bad sports journalist would be less justified in attacking the President like this?
b) A journalist calling the President of the United States a racist is in fact quite remarkable, and if an ESPN employee had called Barack Obama equivalent things, he or she would have been fired so fast her hair would have combusted.
c) OK, asshole, give me your closing argument about how President Trump is irrefutably a white supremacist. You can’t use the fact that he believes in enforcing immigration laws, or the fact that white supremacists tend to support him, when his political opponents are addicted to saying and writing things like “the whole white race is a virus.” You can’t use the fact that he doesn’t believe that tearing down statues of Civil War heroes is smart or valid, because I agree with him, and I am not a white supremacist. The fact that he implicitly defended the right of white nationalists to exercise their First Amendment rights makes him a supporter of the Constitution, as his oath of office requires, and not a nascent totalitarian like the hate-speech banning politicians you probably support.
So what have you got? I’d say nothing. It’s “irrefutable” to you because your left-wing friends say it is….
d) …not that whether Hill was right or not is the least bit relevant to whether ESPN is sending the message that gratuitous public anti-Trump, race-baiting grandstanding from employees is acceptable, but anti-Democrat/Muslim/Trans statements are not. It is sending that message, and that’s a double standard and obvious bias.
e) ESPN’s response was craven all right, but for the opposite reason that this guy says.
f) The fact that mostly conservatives correctly condemn Hill and ESPN only proves that the Left has lost its ethics alarms and professional compass, or broken them while stomping and screaming during their post 2016 election tantrum. It’s not a partisan or political verdict, except that “the resistance” would defend the Zodiac killer if he attacked the President. That’s their flaw, not ours.
2. Today’s “I was going to post on it but the story is so stupid that I don’t want to give it the prominence” note is this one.
Cumberland County Interim School Superintendent Tim Kinlaw cancelled an environmental program used the Marquis de Lafayette as its symbol. He said he was trying to be sensitive to the minority population, because he heard somewhere, or read somewhere, or somebody told him that Lafayette was a slaveholder. Well, technically: the French general and American ally bought slaves to free them. He was an abolitionist, not that he deserved to be disrespected this way even if he had held slaves in the 18th Century. Slavery is irrelevant to why we honor Lafayette, who played a large role in allowing the United States to exist at all, just as it is irrelevant to why we honor Washington, Jefferson, and Madison. Using his name in connection with an environmental program would trouble minority students? Too bad. Teach them something. Teach them that great historical figures often have great flaws. Teach them that if they are going to be upset at who past generations chose to honor, they need to get some perspective, stop playing victim, and grow up.
“It appears that by trying to be sensitive to part of the community, I was insensitive to another part,” Kinlaw said in apologizing to the School board. No, it appears that you are a political correctness-addled idiot, who couldn’t even be trusted to check your facts before embarrassing yourself, the school and the community by pronouncing Lafayette a racist. In the news report, School board Chairman Greg West says, fatuously and alarmingly, that Kinlaw’s action was excusable because he was trying to be sensitive. No, it was inexcusable because it was incompetent, and disgraceful for an educator, acting on ignorance and emotion without knowing the facts. Good intentions are not an excuse.
Oh! I almost forgot the best part!
This occurred in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
The town is named for Lafayette.
3. When I wrote last night’s post about Harvard’s convoluted approach to the graduate school application of a released killer-mom, I was not aware that Harvard’s Kennedy School Institute of Politics had invited Chelsea Manning to be a fellow this year. KABOOM!
Manning is a disturbed and unstable individual (Would it be unfair to suggest that switching genders strongly suggest instability?), who was diagnosed in her trial as suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome. She has a high school degree, but no training in government. To cite, as the Kennedy School does, her work as a security analyst as a qualification to be a Visiting Fellow is like citing Typhoid Mary’s experience as a nurse. On its website, the Kennedy School promotes that fact that Manning is its first transgender Visiting Fellow. Whoop-de-doo. So what, and who cares? Why not Caitlin Jenner? Why are irrelevant physical characteristics and medical history enhancements for a teacher at the Kennedy School?
In response to this ridiculous move, Michael J. Morel , the former deputy and acting director of the Central Intelligence Agency announced that he is resigning as a non-resident senior fellow from Harvard’s Kennedy School. Good for him. Morel wrote in his resignation letter that he “cannot be part of an organization” that “honors a convicted felon and leaker of classified information.”
No, he can’t, or at least shouldn’t.
“Ms. Manning was found guilty of 17 serious crimes, including six counts of espionage, for leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents to Wikileaks, an entity that CIA Director Mike Pompeo says operates like an adversarial foreign intelligence service,” Morell wrote. “Senior leaders in the military have stated publicly that the leaks by Ms. Manning put the lives of US soldiers at risk….”
The Kennedy School’s invitation, Morel wrote further, will “assist Ms. Manning in her long-standing effort to legitimize the criminal path that she took to prominence” and “may encourage others to leak classified information as well.”
While he fully supports “Ms. Manning’s rights as a transgender American, including the right to serve our country in the US military,” Morel emphasized that “…it is my right, indeed my duty, to argue that the School’s decision is wholly inappropriate and to protest it by resigning from the Kennedy School – in order to make the fundamental point that leaking classified information is disgraceful and damaging to our nation.”
Kennedy School dean Douglas Elmendorf said in a statement.
“I now think that designating Chelsea Manning as a visiting fellow was a mistake, for which I accept responsibility.I see more clearly now that many people view a visiting fellow title as an honorific, so we should weigh that consideration when offering invitations.”
What an embarrassment.