Tuesday, September 20, 2005

I Agree, There is No Excuse

Today’s Roanoke Times has this on the front page of the Virginia section, left column.
Now, I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment expressed in the column. There cannot be an "excuse".
A year ago, the large billboards - five in the Roanoke area - and the strategically placed bar coasters and napkins got attention for the pointed question they asked: "Isn't she a little young?"
Guys, you should know the answer if your "girlfriend" is 13, and you're, say, 25. If that's you, take this personal: Stop robbing the cradle. And if your "relationship" with her is sexual, you're breaking the law. Claim you didn't know how old she was or that consensual sex with her was against the law? Consider this your epiphany. As Assistant Roanoke Commonwealth's Attorney Alice Ekirch said last week, "Ignorance of the law and her age is no defense."
The billboards that made the blunt inquiry last summer are down, but the ongoing statewide public awareness campaign by the Virginia Department of Health continues to put out the crucial message that sex with an underage girl is a big no-no.
This is a prime example of the type of hypocrisy Ms. Zomparelli and Mr. Denton expose to their readers daily.
If you’ve read the column, you are sure to be wondering when the Roanoke Times ever endorsed Child Sexual Abuse. I'll be the first to admit that they haven't, at least not explicitly. And that brings me to the second thing for which there is no excuse. They most ceratinly have endorsed it implicitly.

At the time of her nomination, the records of the ACLU were freely available to the Times Editorial Board. If my memory serves me correctly, I seem to remember the Times even citing ACLU Board Membership as one of many qualifying features of her resume’.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s views on child sexuality were also made known during her confirmation process. During the confirmation process, testimony was given that, Mrs. Ginsburg, as a member of the ACLU board, attacked the right of state and local governments to arrest and prosecute adult sex offenders who prey upon the young. She had even written a published study advocating reducing the age of consent to 12 (for females!). Yet, the Roanoke Times eagerly endorsed her for confirmation.

I would find it extremely hard to believe that Ms. Zomparelli or Mr. Denton or any other member of the Editorial Board would consciously endorse child sexual abuse. (Not now, and not in 1993, before Ms. Zomparelli and Mr. Denton rose to their respective positions.) But, in their zeal to endorse a Supreme Court Nominee that was certain to provide Court votes that would agree with their social agenda, The Roanoke Times did just that. They were only too willing to overlook items like these, if it would only mean another reliably liberal Supreme Court Justice.

I'm sure the Roanoke Times’ defense would be that the article cited here was an opinion column, not necessarily reflective of the Times Editorial Board. (Just as Mr. Denton repeatedly insists that the Editorial Page is a concensus, not any one person's opinion. Which is probably true, look at who makes up that concensus.) But, I submit, the article is not on the Editorial or Opinion Page, it has a distinctive “news” feel and tone, and the average reader would never disassociate this article from a legitimate news story. Or maybe it's a legitimate news story written by a columnist. That it is one or the other is irrelevant. It still points to the fact that what is unversally deplored by society, is sometimes ignored in deference to a "higher purpose".

Maybe today’s “Opinion Column” disguised as news is an unconscious attempt to rectify that gross mistake of 12 years ago.

Maybe now they truly do feel that a Supreme Court Nominee should be pressed much harder in order to discern all the "nuances" of his or her thought processes. Obviously they do, because in a recent Editorial critical of Jerry Kilgore, three paragraphs were expended complaining about Judge Roberts' "ambiguity".

Obviously, the last two parahraphs were facetious, but that facetiousness brings into a much clearer focus, at least in my mind, the reason the Liberal leaning Press, including the Times, and the Democratic Party are so insistent that they should know without doubt how a nominee will rule on certain cases. When the nominee comes from their own party, they DO know how that candidate will rule. Under those circumstances, the questioning need not be very hard or very probing. And a Roanoke Times Endorsement needn't be either.

No comments: