As we have previously learned, Robert Nordlander gets rather upset when his letters are not printed and he feels that he has been sidelined by the newspaper or authorities. I have a previous example on this website where he argues with Matt Neistein. Here we have another example of a letter that did not reach print (offered in Appendix 1) and the ensuing conversation.
Larry Gallup is a Post-Crescent editor, and Laurie Kaiser is the opinion editor (who took over for Matt Neistein in October 2007). These conversations are taken from e-mails that I was carbon-copied on.
Nordlander to Gallup – December 18, 9:23am
Gavin Schmitt informs me you did not publish his response to Bernard Green either. Is Bernard an endangered species that needs protection?
[Gavin notes: It is true I informed Nordlander of this, but it was just in passing. I was not intending it to be taken to mean I was censored or upset. What the newspaper chooses to print is their business, I have no right to see anything of mine in print.]
Gallup to Nordlander – December 19, 11:11am
As I believe you’ve already heard from Laurie Kaiser, our decision not to run the letter is for three reasons: 1) We’re unable to easily verify the quotes you’ve listed in the letter (and no, we’re not going to spend hours in a library trying to look them up); 2) the letter, as a series of quotes, isn’t well-constructed; and 3) the main reason, is that I can see where this debate is headed. And that’s the same place it’s headed before – into a back-and-forth with Bernard Green that would never end until we stop running letters from either of you. So that’s what we’re doing.
[Gavin notes: Bernard Green had previously written on Israel, and I responded (though was not printed) as you can see here. His original letter and my extended commentary can be found here. What Nordlander had to say at this time I do not know.]
This round started with Lyle Boggs’ Community Column of Oct. 21. Green responded, and then Boggs rebutted. When Green wanted to respond again, I told him no. And then, when you wrote three weeks after Green and more than a month after Boggs, we told you no. I don’t remember Gavin Schmitt’s letter on the subject; might have been the same reason, or maybe Gavin had already had a letter run that month.
[Gavin notes: Although both a call and letter were submitted in November 2007, neither was printed.]
But that’s the way it’s going to stand. If you read Boggs’ column and follow-up letter, you can see we presented both sides of the issue. And we aren’t going to run anything else on it – from anyone – for awhile.
Nordlander to Gallup – December 19, 12:49pm
So much for informed discussion about an international issue in the very parochial and provincial Post-Crescent! You’re too goddamned lazy to inform yourself about an issue that has great potential for harm to the human race.
740 words vs, 600 words – two letters. Add Jake’s 200 and the score is 940 to 600. Fair and Balanced anyone?
Gallup to Nordlander – December 19, 2:29pm
Sorry, Bob. If word count matters that much to you, Boggs wrote a Community Column on Oct. 21 – 741 words – not a letter. So actually, using your argument, it’s 940 words to 1,041 words (Boggs’ column and response letter).
Nordlander to Kaiser – December 19
I ran out of time on your phone. If I sounded angry it was because I was. To re-capitulate: Lyle Boggs can only use 300 words in a letter to the editor to criticize Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. Bernard Green uses 740 words to claim that the USA has a MORAL obligation to support Israel and uses false history. I gave FIVE quotations from Israeli military leaders and politicians in which they admitted Israel was in no danger in 1967 and that Israel’s war was a “war of choice.”
You certainly had no compunction to publish Ruth Elmer’s claim that Carl Sagan had converted to Christianity on his deathbed. Did Ruth Elmer give you a choice that was also “esoteric.” But when it comes to the Middle East you claim the sources are “esoteric.” Anyone who watched Cosmos know that Carl Sagan did not believe in any form of religious mythology. [see Appendix 2]
People informed about the 1967 Israeli war of aggression against its neighbors are aware of these admissions by Israeli military and
political leaders. If you are not informed and someone attempts to
inform you, shouldn’t you have a little intellectual curiosity in the
matter instead of excusing yourself claiming they are esoteric
because you are to lazy to confirm them? Did you check out Dr.
Geller’s quotations re: his letter on the 2nd Amendment? [see Appendix 3]
It seems to me you have given a pass to Bernard Green and people who think like him to avoid being held up to public criticism thereby allowing them to pass off their misinformation in 740-word epistles.
And you allowed Jake Jacobs’ letter in support of Green to be
published but would not allow Gavin Schmitt or me to answer Bernard Green.
Is this your view and the PC view of “fair and balanced.?”
[Gavin notes: As with the message to Gallup, I contacted Kaiser. It is true that I submitted an “It’s Your Call” correcting Bernard Green, but by no means did I feel I had been censored for my choice of subject matter.]
Appendix 1 — The Letter
The following letter is dated December 1, 2007:
After accusing Lyle Boggs of distorting history in his November 6 letter, Bernard Green resorts to a little “distorting” himself. He referred to “Israel’s defensive 1967 war.” Here is what leading Israelis in government and the military had to say about that war.
First Menachem Begin:
“The Egyptian Army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him…” Noam Chomsky, “The Fateful Triangle.”
Next Yitzhak Rabin:
“I do not think Nasser wanted war. The two divisions he sent to The Sinai would not have been sufficient to launch an offensive war. He knew it and we knew it.” Chief of Staff in 1967, Le Monde, 2/28/68
Next General Matiyahu Peled:
“The thesis that the danger of genocide was hanging over us in June 1967 and that Israel was fighting for its physical existence is only bluff, which was born and developed after the war. . . . To pretend that the Egyptian forces massed on our frontiers were in a position to threaten the existence of Israel constitutes an insult not only to the intelligence of anyone capable of analyzing this sort of situation, but above all an insult to the Zahal Israeli army” (Ha’aretz, 19 March 1972).
Israeli Air Force General Ezer Weizman:
“There was never any danger of extermination.”
And finally Mordechai Bentov, who tells us why the war was fought:
“All this story about the danger of extermination has been a complete invention and has been blown up a posteriori to justify the annexation of Arab territories.” (http://www.cc-vw.org/articles/wolf.htm).
Perhaps Bernard Green will next tell us that the USS LIBERTY was about to attack Israel on June 8, 1967 when 34 Americans were killed and 171 Americans were wounded by Israeli bombs and torpedoes.
[Gavin notes: Why a letter from December 1 and denied printing was still being debated almost three weeks later is beyond me. Although, in Nordlander’s defense, Gallup or Kaiser probably wouldn’t have had to spend all day in a library — Nordlander clearly provides his own citations, something Green doesn’t do.]
Appendix 2 — A Call
The following call appeared in the Post-Crescent on December 21 as a response to Ruth Elmer’s letter:
“Ruth Elmer resorts to Christian terrorism to frighten the ignorant and superstitious believing her Christian mythology. Moreover, she is either guilty of a prevarication claiming that Carl Sagan died a Christian or she is gullible in believing the propaganda put out in Christian Bible tracks [sic]. Every free-thinking atheist or deist suddenly converted to Christianity on their deathbeds, according to these liars. The claim has been made for Voltaire, Thomas Paine, Robert G. Ingersoll and others. Separate contracts for the Jews? She is saying that, as God’s chosen people, they are exempt from believing her Christian nonsense. The human comedy continues, but it ain’t funny.”
Appendix 3 — Geller’s Letter
The following letter appeared in the Post-Crescent on December 19. It was signed “Kenneth A. Geller, M.D.”, which made me very curious as to why the fact he was a doctor had anything to do with the Second Amendment. But, of well, he’s earned it. The letter, including the quotations to which Nordlander refers:
“I would not be so quick to readily give up one of our sacred Bill of Rights, without full understanding why the Second Amendment was placed there. The Second Amendment is as important now as it was at the time of our founding fathers. Lord Acton’s statement, ‘All power tends to corrupt, absolute power corrupts absolutely’ is still as valid today as it was in the past. Have you forgotten about Chavez and Putin?
“As to what constitutes the ‘militia?’ To quote George Mason: ‘I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except a few public officials.’
“Tench Coxe, ‘Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? … the unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.’
“Even James Madison in his Federalist Paper No. 46 clearly implies the militia is the whole of freemen able to carry arms. In 1982, a subcommittee on the Constitution, of the Judiciary, U.S. Senate in the 97th Congress came to the same conclusion as did the Court of Appeals of the D.C. District, that like the First, Fourth, Ninth and 10th amendments, ‘the people,’ are ‘us,’ singularly, not a collective mass.
“If the hoplophobic among you feel better without a Second Amendment, then work to repeal it. But as to the U.S. Supreme Court, if it truly analyzes what our founding fathers wrote, it must confirm the lower court’s decision.
“One final quote, ‘This year will go down in history. For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration! Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future.’ — Adolf Hitler 1935.”
[Gavin notes: You’ll see that Nordlander’s letter is a list of quotes, whereas this letter does a better job of incorporating them into the body of the letter. That is the distinction Gallup would make, I believe, and I think it’s a good one.]