Ithaca Blog

Monday, October 06, 2008

Ithaca Journal's Credo: We Know Better, But We Care Less

If you are the even-tempered sort, today you might have had to try to calm some less-so friends, upset about the headline story in the Ithaca Journal, of the McCain campaign's warnings about Barack Obama's "terrorist pal."

Those were the Journal's front page, above the fold, headline words.

The terrorist pal in question is not the bearded, turbaned type most modern fear-mongers try to conjure, but William Ayres, who was a member of the Weather Underground in the Vietnam era, and a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago today.

Obama was 8 years old at the time of Ayres' antiwar activity, so it is unlikely Ayres looked to him for guidance. Apparently, however, in the 40 years since, at one function or another in Chicago academics or politics, the two have been in the same place at the same time.

No doubt the McCain campaign would prefer to pin a guy in a turban to Obama, but for now, this college protester turned Chicago professor will have to do, in a campaign marked increasingly by a lack of responsibility.

It's a shame, but in Ithaca, the shame is on the Ithaca Journal, for presenting this contorted drivel as news, at all. The shame is compounded by the blaring sensationalism.

What is their purpose? To scare people away from Obama? Or just to sell papers?

That first possible purpose, of course, is the worse of the two. But the second is bad enough, on its own.

Every once in a while, the Journal writes an opinion piece about cynicism among the American electorate, and our growing distrust of newspapers. And then, one imagines, the editor takes a long stare out the office window. Not into the office mirror.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca Blog

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