Race: Moralists Say the Oddest Things
Written Thursday evening here in Hollywood as night descended and the air was filled with smoke from the twenty-thousand acre fire to the west, the Burbank fire to the north and another far out east - in Apocalypse (Local Version) - there was some mention, in all the other madness, of what William Bennett said this week on Morning in America, his radio show. Perhaps that deserves its own item.
The suggestion was that there was something in the air, beside the smoke.
As brief recap - we're talking about William J. "Bill" Bennett, born in Brooklyn, BA in philosophy from Williams, PhD from the University of Texas, Harvard law degree - co-director of "Empower America," the "Washington Fellow" out here at the Claremont Institute - and chairman of "Americans for Victory over Terrorism." He was Reagan's chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (1981-1985) and Secretary of Education (1985-1988), and our "drug czar" (1989-1990). He's written sixteen books, but is most famous for The Book of Virtues and The Children's Book of Virtues. His latest is called Why We Fight: Moral Clarity and the War on Terrorism. He's a moral man. Yes, there was that scandal with his compulsive gambling, but the right forgave him.
A minor note, William J. "Bill" Bennett's brother is Robert Bennett, Judy Miller's lawyer - you know, Miller is the New York Times reporter who just spent eighty-five days in jail for something or other. Friday, September 30, on CNN's "Situation Room," he, Robert, was being interviewed about why Miller got out of jail now, and about her testimony to the grand jury that morning, and where it was all leading. Then the host, Wolf Blitzer, blindsided him by asking what he thought of his brother's statements about aborting black babies. He was ticked-off at the change of topic and laid into Blitzer. (Partial transcript here.) He didn't answer.
As for what Brother Bill said this week, that's given in full at Media Matters here (September 28) -
Thursday evening you could see him on Fox News telling Sean Hannity this was no big deal. It was sociology or something. Friday this was all over the news, except he didn't appear on CNN's "Situation Room" - Wolf explained that was a contractual matter. Bennett is a Fox News commentator. CNN doesn't get him. But everyone else has comments Friday. Michigan Democrat John Conyers wrote a letter to the Salem Radio Network that syndicates "Morning in America" and requested Bennett be suspended. A glance at television during the day would net Nancy Pelosi being outraged, the Congressional Black Caucus being outraged, and the NAACP likewise. Everyone was piling on. CNN on the "Situation Room" had Jack Cafferty reading viewers' letters.
Ric Erickson, editor of MetropoleParis, sent along this:
Let me see - no babies, white or black or brown or yellow or green - no crime. Makes sense.
Rick, the News Guy in Atlanta:
Yes, it is.
Curiously, on the left, Brad DeLong, the economics professor up at Berkeley who was a key player in the Clinton administration, defends Bennett -
Seeing this, our Wall Street attorney friend reminded me of something concerning this advice about never getting involved in an argument over Noam Chomsky - "Didn't we try this once in one of your classes?" Yes, our Wall Street attorney friend was in my Language and Linguistics class back in the seventies, but the issue there was not political but rather about Chomsky's theories of language acquisition. Noam Chomsky also does psycholinguistics, right? That's what MIT hired him to do for all these years. The other stuff is... other stuff.
Anyway, nothing is going to happen here. This Salem Radio Network is not going to do anything to Bennett, as Sarah Posner explains in this item. She does her research. Salem Radio Network's parent company is Salem Communications, a publicly traded media company which openly claims its programming is from a conservative Christian perspective. The company owns over one hundred radio stations in major metropolitan markets and syndicates its programming to almost two thousand stations around the country.
Posner profiles CEO Ed Atsinger and his brother-in-law and Board Chairman Stuart Epperson, two key players in an effort that started fifteen years ago out here to "turn" the California Republican Party, and make it "radical Christian right" - funded by Howard Ahmanson, the fellow who owns Dirt Bike and Motorcross magazines and a few others. Note to self: no more plays at the Ahmanson Theater, no off-road biking, and no Dominos Pizza. Who would want a pizza from an organization that uses its profits to end abortion rights, outlaw homosexuality and get rid of Darwin in the schools? Anyway, pizza is bad for you.
Salem Communications is headquartered, by the way, just up the coast in Camarillo, at the edge of this week's big fires. Is God trying to tell them something?
Note this, courtesy of BartCop: