BDN asks: What have we become?
How did Maine's media perform in the wake of the Tucson shootings. Not too bad -- with one awful exception: this Jan. 10 editorial in the Bangor Daily News. It includes these comments:
"When...Sarah Palin, posts a map on her website with crosshairs over certain congressional districts...civil discourse is degraded.
When the leader of U.S. Senate Republicans, Mitch McConnell, says his top priority is to ensure President Barack Obama serves only one term, we can no longer hope that compromises...will be in the offing.
"When...Rep. Michele Bachmann, tells her adherents to be “armed and dangerous,” violence is not a surprise."
These examples of editorial inanity brought a solicited (we suspect) quote from Sandy Maisel, a reliably liberal Colby College professor who loves to opine. He said, "For someone who's deranged, to hear people say that if the ballot box doesn’t work, it’s time for bullets … it’s frightening,”
What is really much more frightening, Prof. Maisel, is your implied willingness and the obvious eagerness of the the Bangor Daily News -- with no evidence whatsoever -- to pin the blame for the Arizona shootings on conservatives.
The editorial does, of course, reflect the fairly recent decision by top management at the BDN to steer hard left, but it's likely that few will had realized how far down the road this course had already taken the paper. Until now.
It serves no purpose here to defend Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. The insinuations in the BDN editorial that their actions somehow caused the Arizona madman to act, was an instant reflex for many on the left. But those hasty conclusions have been thoroughly and (except, perhaps, for readers of the Huffington Post) universally debunked.
As for the insipid reference to Sen. McConnell, far worse things have been said about conservative and Republican politicians in BDN editorials or columns over recent months without inciting violence.
Perhaps if the BDN had waited a few more hours before rendering judgment -- as Maine's other large dailies did -- it could have saved itself embarrassment and provided its readers with more accurate and thoughtful commentary.
Could have. But the odds against it should discourage even the more daring risk-takers who frequent the slots emporium across the street from the Bangor News. After reading this editorial even they must fully understand what the BDN has become.