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November 05, 2008


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Well said!!!!! Thank you for this essay! I'm proud to be an American today!

Jack reminds me of those who claim the civil war was not about race but state's rights..

White voters( a racial group) made a difference often they do not..

This election was about race ..the aftermath is about the nation..

I am ready to serve...


"Aftermath," indeed.

Regular commenters on this website should be aware that Jack Lessenberry took to the pages of the Detroit Metro Times (his regular column, "Politics & Prejudices") to attack some of the commenters on his Michigan Radio essays. I presume that Mr. Lessenberry's attack was aimed in part (perhaps in small part, I don't know) at me. Here is the full section of the Jack Lessenberry Metro Times column for November 5-11:

"LOSING ALL PROPORTION: As it became more and more likely that voters were going to reject lies and fearmongering that had worked before, the nutty far right became more and more hysterical.
"Those of us in the media were subjected to a vicious stream of the nastiest propaganda I've ever seen. Right-wingers who hate free speech went berserk, trying to organize a campaign to have me fired from Michigan Radio, Wayne State University and, I think, my Cub Scout troop. They hated that I pointed out the blatant lies told by those opposing stem cell research, which caused some loony tune to say I was discriminating against Roman Catholics.
"Another man even demanded I report that the Book of Revelation clearly indicated a man who looked like Barack Obama and who was a Muslim would destroy us all. When I pointed out that Revelation was written long before Islam was invented, he swore violently at me and hung up. Freedom, like civilization, is a delicate thing indeed."

Wow. Where to begin in disassembling this rant?

I guess the place to start is that the latter reference, to an apparent telephone conversation, is something beyond the scope of this website, and beyond me. If a columnist writing for the Metro Times gets an occasional nutty phone call, Captain Renalut may count me as shocked, shocked, to know that such things might happen. I wasn't the caller, and I have no idea who the caller may have been. Shame on that caller if Jack Lessenberry has in fact recounted the call accurately. But I have grave doubts that Jack Lessenberry is reporting anything accurately.

Stay with me now.

Let's analyze Lessenberry's version of the comments on this website.

~"LOSING ALL PROPORTION: As it became more and more likely that voters were going to reject lies and fearmongering that had worked before, the nutty far right became more and more hysterical."

I get it, Jack, all Republican campaigning is "lies and fearmongering." No specifics from you, just generalizing the opposition. Well, Jack, you missed the single most important and brutally effective lie in this entire campaign season; the claim, in a brutally effective attack ad that Chief Justice Cliff Taylor "slept" on the bench. Affidavits from attorney witnesses say that the claim (made by a disgruntled litigant who had her jackpot jury verdict taken away) say that the "sleeping" claim was untrue. Period, ful stop. Good truth-squadding of that ad, given the closeness of the race, might have made the difference in the outcome. You were apparently too busy chasing other Republican bogeymen.

~"Those of us in the media were subjected to a vicious stream of the nastiest propaganda I've ever seen. Right-wingers who hate free speech went berserk, trying to organize a campaign to have me fired from Michigan Radio, Wayne State University and, I think, my Cub Scout troop."

Hello? Did anyone challenge Jack Lessenberry's "free speech" rights? Not I! I have regularly acknowledged Lessenberry's right to his left-slanted opinions. Waht I explicitly challenged was Michigan Radio's responsibility in terms of balancing its programming, and I challenged the notion of a single "Senior News Analyst" in the person of the beliigerently left-wing Jack Lessenberry. That's all, folks. If anyone "organized" a "campaign" against Jack Lessenberry, they didn't tell me. Is that kind of "organizing" anything like being a "community orgainizer," I wonder? Jack Lessenberry is free to say whatever he wants. Indeed, as of now, he is not only free to say waht he wants, he gets to BROADCAST his views over the publicly-supported airwaves of the radio network operated under the auspices of the Board of Regents of the University of Michigan. That's some kinda free speech, eh? Seriously, the question wasn't ever really put to Jack Lessenberry in the first place. I don't much care what he thinks, and I have no power, and no motivation to interfere with his rights to free speech, free association, free lunches or free love. But there is a serious question that Michigan Radio needs to answer and hasn't; what is the purpose of the "Senior News Analyst," and does Jack Lessenberry represent any kind of editorial balance in political reporting? How anyone could presume that he does, is way beyond me.

I was also amused that Jack Lessenberry lumped himself with (whom?) in referring to "those of us in the media." Those of you in the media? Who the hell are you talking about? Is "the media" a pro-Obama, pro-Democrat monolith? Wait, don't answer that. I think I know. More seriously, I know I didn't lambaste "the media," especially whaen I have found such good and convincing media coverage in the pages of the Wall Street Journal editorial pages, the Weekly Standard, and other elements of the conservative press. If by "the media," Mr. Lessenberry thinks I was intentionally raising wider questions about the left-wing bias of NPR, public broadcasting and many of their affiliates like WUOM... well, then Lessenberry would be quite right. Too bad he didn't report it that way.

Continuing, Lessenberry wrote:
~"They hated that I pointed out the blatant lies told by those opposing stem cell research, which caused some loony tune to say I was discriminating against Roman Catholics."

Well, no, actually, Jack. Some of your listeners and readers took offense with your undeniable comparison of activist Roman Catholics in American politics to the Taliban. You wrote it. And they complained about it. The record of that dispute is right here on your website for everyone to see.

For my part, Jack, I wrote that I was a moderate on the subject. (I voted Yes on Prop 2, grudgingly favoring the ethically questionable field of embryonic stem cell research, which you constantly and inaccurately refer to as "stem cell research.") What I wrote on your Comments pages was that I thought your journalism was suspect, in your attack interview with a representative of the MI-Cause Campaign, pairing it with a lovefest interview with a U-M genetic researcher. A perfect apples/oranges pairing designed to enable you to make your editorial point, that the only science was on your side, and evil politics was all that the opposition could muster on their side. I stand by all of my criticism of you on that subject. I shan't repeat it here.

The fact that you appear to want to lump me into a general category of "the nutty far right" is yet another insult to your broader listenership. One of an increasing number of insults that you have offered in response to increasing criticism of the Lessenberry role at Michigan Radio.

Anyone who wishes to review my comments on this website and compare them to Jack Lessenberry's Metro Times rant is welcome to do so. I urge it upon any interested reader, but mostly to the executive staff of Michigan Radio.

That was an awful lot to have written in order to state that Jack writes Op Ed pieces.

"That was an awful lot to have written in order to state that Jack writes Op Ed pieces."

He certainly does, at the Metro Times, which is a commercial, openly left-leaning, weekly news-and-entertainment (and gay porn, I suppose) "alternative" news magazine.

Michigan Radio is a public broadcasting outlet, operated with public support by the Regents of the University of Michigan.

There's a difference.

I don't know who Captain Renalut is, but I susoect he is a member of the Inuit tribe of Moroccan policemen. The Metro Times is also read by thespians, he or she forgot to add. Oh -- and are my eyes really brown? The stem cell people said they were really beautiful.

Captain Renault - My typo transposed the u and the l. The Vichy French character played by the great Claude Rains in Casablanca (1942), who says, after Major Strasser instructs him to close Rick's Cafe; "I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!
[a croupier hands Renault a pile of money]
Croupier: Your winnings, sir.
Captain Renault: [sotto voce] Oh, thank you very much."

Jack Lessenberry knew all that, hence his reference to Morocco, where, as misinformed as he is, he must frequently go, "for the waters."

For the rest of us, I suppose that we are "shocked, shocked, to find that" our local NPR news affiliate might share the liberal bias of the mothership.

Ah, but if anonymous were truly literate, he would remember that just before that, Rick asked Major Strasser if his eyes were really brown. And at the end, Rains & Bogart went off to join the Maquis, who were 90 percent Communist. Now you know my real motivation. Please call HUAC and Whittaker Chambers ASAP.

Anonymous aka intellectual coward for not posting under your real name..

Watch out..Be aware you are getting under Jack's skin..When I piss off Jack he sends me nasty emails about his true nature and opinons about Black people...

You of course will not have that treat since you lack the courage and integrity to post under your real name...

The beat goes on...sun keeps pounding rythm to my brain...The beat goes on..

Jack Lessenberry does not send me nasty e-mails, and I'm not hoping for any. I don't send him nasty e-mails (at least I try not to), and I don't suppose for a moment that they'd do any good.

This should not be personalized as to Jack Lessenberry; it is a matter of Michigan Radio policy, more than anything. (Question: "How do you explain one single left-leaning 'Senior News Analyst,' Michigan Radio?")

Mr. Lessenberry fearing for his "right to free speech" is every bit as laughable as Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's offhand comment about her own "free speech rights" being under threat, she felt, from an intrusive and biased press. Neither Palin's comment, nor Jack Lessenberry's comment is worth any amount of serious constitutional law or civil rights consideration. Sarah Palin was widely ridiculed for her silly invocation of the First Amendment in the setting of a candidate for national office. For Jack Lessenberry to have asserted that he might similarly be under an attack threatening his "free speech" rites is every bit as silly.

Here is a link to an entry on the "War Room" blog at the far-left Salon.com website, written by the normally disagreeable Alex Koppelman. Uncharacteristically, he was right in this case:


Substitute "Jack Lessenberry" for "Sarah Palin" in the War Room entry, and you will have an adequate summary.

Let's try the above-attempted link one more time; my first posting of it appears to not work, and without any editing ability, I can't correct it.

Here, again, the Salon "War Room" link concerning Veep candidate Sarah Palin's complaints about her "free speech" rights:


I apologize for the way the link posts. It should be:


Well, it appears the the Salon link just refuses to post correctly. So here is what Salon correspondent Alex Koppelman wrote:

Palin Doesn't Understand First Amendment
(Salon "War Room", October 31, 2008)
In a radio interview that aired Friday morning, Sarah Palin said Americans' First Amendment rights are in danger. Ironically, it's apparently the press who's threatening those rights.

"If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations," Palin said, "then I don't know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media."

That is, to be clear, a fundamental misunderstanding of what the First Amendment is about. Let's review the text:

'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.'

To put it succinctly: the press can't violate Palin's First Amendment rights. If the government were to criminalize her speech, that would be a violation. But what the press is doing in criticizing Palin is exercising the First Amendment.

― Alex Koppelman

Salon is a left wing rag not a source which has much objectivity..

Alex Koppelman would not publish any accounts of many in the white jewish venues which were creating racist emails about Obama..

I was not impressed with his work and selective standards..

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