Saturday, November 28, 2009
Answer: When the New York Times decides to call him an "environmentalist."
The headline reveals a certain way of thinking at the Times -- that arson might be a sort-of respectable tactic in pursuit of a higher cause. You know, in the tradition of Howard Roarke, perhaps. But does this conflation of criminality and environmental "activism" really help the cause of the environment in the long run? Perhaps it does among the readers of the New York Times, but I suspect not among Americans with less clouded moral vision.
They would then play up heavily the "God Bless America" sticker at his parents' home in NJ and insinuate that he was raised in a fringe right-wing family who want to do away with the first amendment by silencing liberals. His attendance at a liberal college and connections to liberal organizations would be construed as attempts to break free of that repressive atmosphere.
No one would say that directly, of course. That wouldn't be nuanced. Unsubtle, don't you know. But it's not hard to leave the reader with that impression, then wait for the Kossacks and MoveOn to spread it.
"You compliment the average reader's intelligence by citing Howard Roark without feeling it necessary to explain who and what he is."
I'd ask "Who is Howard Roark?", but the sarcasm impaired would construe that as ignorance, and it's probably a bad pun anyway.
Always click the link. The first paragraphs from NY Times:
"Justin Franchi Solondz, an environmental activist from New Jersey who spent years evading charges of ecoterrorism in the United States by hiding out in China, was sentenced to three years in prison by a local court on Friday on charges of manufacturing drugs in this backpacker haven.
After serving his time, Mr. Solondz, 30, who is on the F.B.I.’s wanted list, will be deported to the United States, where he faces charges stemming from what the authorities say was his role in an arson rampage that destroyed buildings in three western states as a member of a group related to the environmental extremist organization Earth Liberation Front."
I see the words "ecoterrorism" and "arson rampage".