Last June, Salina Journal editor Tom Bell informed readers that his newspaper would no longer carry Ann Coulter's syndicated column. Oddly, Bell cited Coulter's appearance on The Today Show with Matt Lauer as the main reason. The appearance included Coulter's comments about the socalled Jersey Girls, the 9/11 widows who capitalized on their status to campaign for John Kerry and other Democrats. Here is part of what Bell had to say about Coulter:
"Coulter said the women are an example of how liberals put forth spokespeople who cannot be criticized because they are protected by sympathy or other sensitivities.
"She makes a valid point. The Rev. Jesse Jackson’s critics are accused of racism. Cindy Shahan (sic), who leads an anti-war and anti-Bush movement, is considered off limits for criticism because she lost a son in the Iraq war."
While Coulter is a controversial columnist, Bell concedes that she made a valid point. Nevertheless, Bell dropped Coulter's column.
Molly Ivins is also a controversial columnist, a fact that Ivins acknowledged when she entitled one of her books, Molly Ivins Can't Say That, Can She?
Ivins' rhetoric is no less extreme that Coulter's, yet the Salina Journal continues to carry Ivins' column. But there is a difference between Coulter and Ivins. As Bell acknowledged, Coulter made a valid point regarding the Jersey Girls. Coulter's points are usually valid. Ivins' points seldom are.
For example, in the most recent Ivins column (October 20) published by the Salina Journal, Ivins writes,
"I suppose one could argue, and I am sure someone will, that these are mostly retired generals. Some, like Lt. Gen. William Odom, are calling Iraq 'the worst strategic mistake in the history of the United States.' And they are retired precisely because of their opposition to Iraq."
The uninformed reader would conclude from this paragraph that Odom retired from the military because of his opposition to the war in Iraq. However, Odom clearly retired from the military long before Bush even became president. His offocial biography does not note the exact year, but does say from 1985 to 1988, he served as the director of the National Security Agency under Ronald Reagan.
Odom has been on the board of directors of two corporations since 1996, so it is clear that he retired from the military at some point between 1988 and 1996. In fact, it appears that Odom's military career ended after he left the NSA, which was nearly 15 years prior to the invasion of Iraq.
If Bell drops a controversial columnist after making a valid point, why continue publishing Ivins, whom seldom makes a valid point?