Friday 17th August 2018

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Bye, Bye Channel 5

July 9, 2018 Frontpage No Comments

By MIKE MANNO

I saw something that bothered me last night on the 10 o’clock news. Here in Des Moines we have three network affiliate newscasts: CBS, Channel 8; NBC, Channel 13, and the perennial also-ran, ABC, Channel 5. I usually like to click around the dial and not settle or depend on just one. For the last few months, however, I’ve been regularly watching the also-ran, Channel 5.
I liked 5; the graphics were clear and easily readable, it had some very good feature stories, and it followed our local Iowa talent, Maddie Poppe, on her road to becoming this year’s American Idol. At 10 p.m., I’d turn from what I was watching to the Channel 5 “We Are Iowa” newscast.
But last night something on the air took my breath away. The newscast was covering the decision by the Ames Public Library to host a K-12 — ready for this? — drag camp. Yes, you heard it right, a drag camp for kids from kindergarten through high school. Naturally, since there was opposition, I expected a rational portrayal of each side’s argument.
That didn’t come.
In introducing the taped report, Anchor Stephanie Angleson said it would show how the library is standing up to “haters.” Haters. Those opposing the camp were now, officially, according to “We Are Iowa,” haters. I ran the tape back to check and see if what I heard was right. It was. I even checked the station’s webpage this morning and it was still there. “Now the library is standing up to the haters,” Angleson said. Interestingly, the written transcript did not contain the word hater, but “those who disagree.”
Now I don’t personally know Angleson; she has always appeared to me to be a bright, articulate, and professional newscaster. But there is a great difference between “the haters” and “those who disagree” and I wondered if she might have simply adlibbed the “H” word. You know it is so easy to do these days, but you would expect a trained journalist — especially in today’s polarized climate — to know better.
More and more we see news outlets, as well as political partisans, using the H word to describe that with which they disagree. And, in my opinion, it is that type of loose reporting that has led to the nearly complete deconstruction of civility in today’s society. There are numerous causes of this incivility where we debase our opponents — or as some would call them — our enemies. This is not new. In contemporary times it has been on the rise since Saul Alinsky and his political theory, and the metamorphosis of Morris Dees’ Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
Alinsky, if you don’t remember, was a Chicago labor organizer who, later as a community organizer, coordinated the poor and disenfranchised for political action. He founded a number of political action groups and is credited with being an influence on any number of liberal religious leaders as well as numerous “progressive” politicians, including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
His lasting claim to fame was a book he published in 1971, Rules for Radicals, which he dedicated to “the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment…Lucifer.” The groups that followed Alinsky and his “rules” were noted for sowing the seeds of class warfare by exploiting community problems and for their confrontational tactics, berating “enemies” from both industry and politics, usually in public. All following his famous Rule 13: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.
Morris Dees is lawyer who was the co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Early on it was a respected civil rights organization, but it has now sunk to the point where it has thrown the word “hate” around so indiscriminately that the use of pejoratives in public discourse is now one of the progressives’ favorite tactics.
The SPLC’s slide into what should be political irrelevance began with its publication of a “hate list.” The idea was to warn the public about those groups that posed a danger to the body politic because they advocated hate or violence toward one segment or other of the population. Groups like the American Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, and white supremacists groups like the Aryan Nation, as expected, made the list.
These haters were geographically placed on a map — the Hate Map — and included many groups that consisted of only a handful of members and were really no great threat to the public. However, SPLC then started looking at other, more mainstream groups, to add to its list.
Groups then were divided into classifications such as anti-LGBT, anti-Muslim, and the like. Thus organizations that held traditional beliefs about marriage, or those opposed to unlimited immigration were added to the list and designated as “haters.” Included in that list are many notable and valuable organizations, such as:
The Family Research Council (FRC) – since it stands for family values and traditional marriage, it defamed homosexuals and lesbians. In August of 2012 a gunman, reacting to the Hate Map, entered FRC’s headquarters and tried to kill staff members and stuff Chick-fil-A sandwiches in their mouths. Fortunately, a security guard, although wounded, stopped the slaughter.
The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) — a well-respected religious liberty legal network that has represented numerous individuals in courts across the nation, defended Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop and Barronelle Stutzman of Arlene’s Flowers, before the United States Supreme Court. Phillips, as you know, won his case and Washington state’s decision against Arlene’s Flowers was vacated by the High Court. SPLC considers it a hate group because it opposes equal rights — read that marriage — for LGBT people.
The American Family Association — it opposes so-called same-sex marriage, pornography, and abortion. SPLC claims it “demonizes” the LGBT folks.
Liberty Counsel — another well-respected legal entity that protects the rights of religious liberties from magistrate court to the Supreme Court. Its stand for traditional values earned its designation as a hate group.
And I could go on: MassResistance, a citizens’ alliance for morality in society and schools; the Pacific Justice Institute, another legal defender of religious liberty; and the Traditional Values Coalition, which represents over 43,000 Christian churches in the United States and stands for “a moral code and behavior based upon” biblical values.
I’ll stop there, but I think you get the message.
The problem with the SPLC is that its hate map is now considered in businesses and newsrooms as the quintessential guide to who’s a hater and who is not. Recently ADF was kicked out of one of Amazon’s partnerships because it was found by the SPLC to be a hate group.
So we see now how our public discourse is being lowered by the use of pejorative terms and confrontational tactics: Cabinet secretaries being hounded out of restaurants, their homes surrounded by protesters, and a leading congresswoman calling on progressive supporters to confront those they have disagreements with and don’t let them eat or sleep in peace, and a Senate intern can stand in the Capitol and yell “f-you” to the president.
I’m sure Stephanie Angleson is a nice woman and meant no offense. But that’s the problem: Nice people meaning no offense repeat pejoratives as if fact without attempting to understand why ordinary people might not hate, but only have a differing opinion.
Sorry, Stephanie. Hello Channel 13.
(You can contact Mike at DeaconMike@qu.com.)

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